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TASK-BASED LANGUAGE TEACHING VS.

TRADITIONAL WAY OF ENGLISH


LANGUAGE TEACHING IN SAUDI INTERMEDIATE SCHOOLS:
A COMPARATIVE STUDY

A dissertation submitted to the


Kent State University College
of Education, Health, and Human Services
in partial fulfillment of the requirements
for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy

By

Sultan A. Al Muhaimeed

December 2013
© Copyright, 2013 by Sultan A. Al Muhaimeed
All Rights Reserved

ii
A dissertation written by

Sultan A. Al Muhaimeed

B.S., Qassim University, 2006

M.Ed., Kent State University, 2010

Ph.D., Kent State University, 2013

Approved by

__________________________, Co-director, Doctoral Dissertation Committee


Wendy C. Kasten

__________________________, Co-director, Doctoral Dissertation Committee


William P. Bintz

__________________________, Member, Doctoral Dissertation Committee


Aryn C. Karpinski

__________________________, Member, Doctoral Dissertation Committee


Vilma Seeberg

Accepted by

_________________________, Director, School of Teaching, Learning and


Alexa Sandmann Curriculum Studies

_________________________, Dean, College of Education, Health and Human Services


Daniel F. Mahony

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AL MUHAIMEED, SULTAN A., Ph.D., December 2013 CURRICULUM AND
INSTRUCTION/TESOL

TASK-BASED LANGUAGE TEACHING VS. TRADITIONAL WAY OF ENGLISH


LANGUAGE TEACHING IN SAUDI INTERMEDIATE SCHOOLS:
A COMPARATIVE STUDY (252 pp.)

Co-Directors of Dissertation: Wendy C. Kaston, Ph.D.


William P. Bintz, Ph.D.

English language teaching and learning receive considerable attention in Saudi

Arabian schools as seen in existing efforts of development. A primary purpose of this

study is to participate in these efforts of development through the application of a modern

constructivist instructional practice for English language teaching and learning on the

intermediate school level. This study, in part, strives to determine whether or not the

adoption of Task-Based Language Teaching (TBLT) would be a more effective means of

increasing the students’ reading comprehension achievement scores when compared to

the traditional teaching method of the English language that involves (among other

things) prompting and drilling of students. This study also strives to gain issues and

insights that accompany the application of TBLT through constant comparison and

contrast with those that accompany the traditional teaching method.

This mixed-method study is quasi-experimental that uses a pretest and posttests

for collecting quantitative data, and classroom observation and researcher log for

collecting qualitative data. The study involved 122 participants divided into treatment

and control groups. The treatment group has received ten weeks of English language

instruction via the TBLT method while the control group has received ten weeks of
English language instruction via the traditional teaching method. The independent

variable is the use of TBLT in the classroom and the effect/dependent variable is the

students’ reading comprehension achievement scores.

A Two-Factor Split Plot analysis with the pretest as the covariate is used for

analyzing the quantitative data. Analysis of qualitative data included synthesis, rich, and

detailed description for classroom observation and grounded theory for researcher log

data. The findings show that teaching via the TBLT method has significantly helped

students increase their reading comprehension achievement scores more than that of the

traditional teaching method of the English language. The findings also suggest that the

TBLT method, as a constructivist practice, is a better way for English language teaching

and has involved practices that are desired in a modern educational context when

compared to the traditional teaching method of the English language.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I wish to thank those whose emotional support has greatly helped me accomplish

this work. I would like to thank my mother, Latefah S. Aldobaikhi, for being my source

of love, devotion, and enthusiasm as she is always the vital reason for any success I

accomplish throughout my entire life. I also would like to thank my father, Abdullah S.

Almuhaimeed, my sisters, Worood, Ohood, Renad, and my brothers, Mohammed,

Abdulaziz, & Abdulmajeed, for their encouragement, willingness to listen, and services.

Special thanks are to my partners of every success, my wife, Hibah I. Alzaben, and my

daughter, Almas S. Almuhaimeed, for their patience, love, and help. Gratitude extends to

all members of my family and my wife’s family.

I also wish to thank those whose professional support has profoundly guided this

work from the beginning to the end. Above all, there are no words that could express my

feelings and gratitude to my dissertation examining committee, Drs. Wendy C. Kasten,

William P. Bintz, Aryn C. Karpinski, and Vilma Seeberg. Without their help,

knowledge, and expertise, this study would not be accomplished. I also would like to

thank my colleagues, Dr. Ahmad M. Altwygeri, Fahad S. Almuhaysin, and Abdulaziz

Alrobai’an for their collegial discussions and services. Gratitude extends to Qassim

University, Educational Directorate in Qassim, and Kent State University for facilitating

and observing the work of this study. Special thanks are to all students who participated

in this study.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Page

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................................................................................. iv

LIST OF FIGURES ........................................................................................................... ix

LIST OF TABLES ...............................................................................................................x

CHAPTER
I. BACKGROUND, RATIONALE, AND THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK ..........1
Introduction ..............................................................................................................1
Background ..............................................................................................................1
Targeted Curriculum ..........................................................................................3
Task-Based Language Teaching (TBLT) ..........................................................3
Rationale ..................................................................................................................5
Purpose of the Study ..........................................................................................5
Significance of the Study ...................................................................................6
Why TBLT Method in this Study ......................................................................7
Theoretical Framework (Foundation for TBLT) ...............................................8
Research Questions ...............................................................................................11
Terms ....................................................................................................................12
Summary ................................................................................................................14

II. LITERATURE REVIEW ......................................................................................15


Introduction ............................................................................................................15
Learning Theory: Understanding Behaviorism and Construction .......................15
Behaviorism .....................................................................................................16
Constructivism .................................................................................................20
Evolution of Tasks-Based Language Teaching in Second Language
Acquisition ...........................................................................................................25
TBLT Foundation Thinkers .............................................................................25
Tasks Across Time ..........................................................................................26
Cognitive Dimension of Tasks.........................................................................27
Socio-cultural and Psycholinguistic Dimensions of Tasks ..............................27
Socio-cultural dimension ...........................................................................27
Psycholinguistic dimension .......................................................................28
Task-Based Teaching (TBT) and Task-Based Assessment (TBA) .................30
Task-based assessment (TBA) ...................................................................31
Task-based teaching (TBT)........................................................................31

v
TABLE OF CONTENTS (Continued)

CHAPTER Page

Research on Task-Based Learning and Teaching ............................................32


Complexity of tasks ..................................................................................32
Efficiency of tasks......................................................................................33
Enhancing TBLT .......................................................................................34
Criticism of TBLT .....................................................................................34
TBLT Basic Principles Shared by Other Disciplines ............................................35
Developmental Appropriate Practice (DAP) ...................................................36
Whole Language ..............................................................................................36
Continuous Progress (Educational Leadership) ...............................................37
Reading Process .....................................................................................................38
Reading Comprehension ..................................................................................39
Miscue Analysis ...............................................................................................40
Mixed Method Research ........................................................................................41
Observation .....................................................................................................42
Testing .............................................................................................................42
Placement tests ...........................................................................................44
Achievement tests ......................................................................................44
Summary ...............................................................................................................45

III. METHODOLOGY AND DESIGN .......................................................................46


Introduction ............................................................................................................46
Subjects of the Study ............................................................................................46
Participants .......................................................................................................46
Students (participants) ...............................................................................47
Teachers (participants) ...............................................................................47
Settings .............................................................................................................48
Schools .......................................................................................................48
Classroom settings .....................................................................................48
Design and Method ...............................................................................................48
Data Collection Tools ......................................................................................49
Pretest .........................................................................................................49
Observation ...............................................................................................51
Researcher Log .........................................................................................54
Posttests......................................................................................................54
Retelling rubric ..........................................................................................56
Procedural Details ............................................................................................58
Treatment ...................................................................................................58
Control .......................................................................................................61

vi
TABLE OF CONTENTS (Continued)

CHAPTER Page

Permissions and Regulations ..........................................................................62


Internal Validity ...............................................................................................65
Data Analysis .........................................................................................................68
Analysis of Pre and Post Test Scores ...............................................................69
Analysis of Observational Data and Researcher Log Data ..............................71
Limitations of the Study.........................................................................................72
Summary ...............................................................................................................73

IV. ANALYSIS AND RESULTS ................................................................................75


Introduction ............................................................................................................75
Results of the Quantitative Analysis of the First Research Question ...................76
Nature of Quantitative Data .............................................................................76
Pretest summary statistics ..........................................................................77
Posttests summary statistics .......................................................................78
Results for treatment effect ........................................................................80
Standardized posttests results ....................................................................81
Pretest effect...............................................................................................82
Treatment effect .........................................................................................82
Posttest effect .............................................................................................84
Researcher-Prepared Posttests Results ............................................................87
Pretest effect...............................................................................................87
Treatment effect .........................................................................................88
Posttest effect .............................................................................................90
Results of the Qualitative Analysis of the Second Research Question ..................93
Nature of Qualitative Data ...............................................................................93
Observation of the Control and Treatment Groups..........................................93
Observational visits to the control group ..................................................94
Observational visits to the TBLT group ..................................................105
Researcher Log ..............................................................................................110
Combining Quantitative and Qualitative Results ...............................................116
Summary ..............................................................................................................118

V. DISCUSSION, IMPLICATIONS, AND CONCLUSIONS ................................120


Introduction ..........................................................................................................120
Discussion ............................................................................................................120
Quantitative Findings .....................................................................................121
Qualitative Findings ......................................................................................126

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TABLE OF CONTENTS (Continued)

CHAPTER Page

TBLT Pedagogical Context ...........................................................................136


Student-Centered Instruction vs. Teacher-Centered Instruction ....................140
Classroom communication.......................................................................143
Limitations .....................................................................................................147
Implications..........................................................................................................150
English Language Teaching Method Saudi Arabia (the Existing
and the Expected) .........................................................................................150
Teacher Education .........................................................................................151
Educational Policies .......................................................................................156
Recommendations for Future Research .........................................................159
Conclusion ...........................................................................................................160

APPENDICES .................................................................................................................164

APPENDIX A INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARD IRB PERMISSION ................165


APPENDIX B QASSIM DIRECTORATE STUDY PERMISSION............................168
APPENDIX C QASSIM UNIVERSITY REQUEST OF STUDY FACILITATION ..170
APPENDIX D QASSIM DIRECTORATE FACILITATION LETTER TO
PARTICIPATING SCHOOLS ...........................................................172
APPENDIX E RESEARCH TRIP COMPLETION LETTER BY THE
DEPARTMENT OF CURRICULUM & INSTRUCTION ................174
APPENDIX F RESEARCH TRIP COMPLETION LETTER BY THE
DEANSHIP OF FACULTY & PERSONNEL AFFAIRS,
ADMINISTRATIVE OF MISSIONS & TRAINING .......................176
APPENDIX G PRETEST..............................................................................................178
APPENDIX H POSTTESTS .........................................................................................194
APPENDIX I OBSERVATIONAL DATA SAMPLE FOR THE CONTROL
GROUP ...............................................................................................203
APPENDIX J OBSERVATIONAL DATA SAMPLE FOR THE TREATMENT
GROUP ...............................................................................................205
APPENDIX K LESSON PLANS ..................................................................................207
APPENDIX L POWERPOINT SLIDES ......................................................................216
APPENDIX M CONSENT FORMS..............................................................................229

REFERENCES ...............................................................................................................235

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LIST OF FIGURES

Figure Page

1 Quasi-Experimental Design ..................................................................................50

2 Classroom Observation Checklist ..........................................................................53

3 Retelling Rubric .....................................................................................................57

4 TBLT Lesson Plan Sample ....................................................................................60

5 Estimated Means of Standardized Posttests for TBLT and Control Groups .........84

6 Estimated Means for the Five Standardized Posttests ...........................................85

7 Estimated Means of Researcher-Prepared Posttests for TBLT and Control


Groups ....................................................................................................................89

8 Estimated Means for the Five Researcher-Prepared Posttests ...............................91

9 Number of Counted Key Words under the Four Categories ...............................112

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LIST OF TABLES

Table Page

1 Data Analysis ........................................................................................................69

2 Pretest Summary Statistics .....................................................................................78

3 Standardized Posttests Summary Statistics ............................................................79

4 Researcher-Prepared Posttests Summary Statistics ...............................................80

5 Standardized Posttests Estimated Means and Their Standard Errors ....................83

6 Standardized Posttests Estimated Means with Their Standard Errors and 95%
Confidence Interval ................................................................................................85

7 Bonferroni Pairwise Comparisons Among Standardized Posttests .......................86

8 Researcher-Prepared Posttests Estimated Means and Their Standard Errors ........89

9 Researcher-Prepared Posttests Estimated Means with Their Standard Errors


and 95% Confidence Interval.................................................................................90

10 Bonferroni Pair Wise Comparisons Among Researcher-Prepared Posttests .........92

11 Observational Visits to the Control Group ............................................................95

12 Observational Visits to the Task-Based Language Teaching TBLT Group ..........99

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CHAPTER I

BACKGROUND, RATIONALE, AND THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK

Introduction

This chapter provides background information for the study, including

information about the current curriculum for teaching English in Saudi Arabia and a

definition of Task-Based Language Teaching (TBLT). It also addresses the purpose,

significance of the study, and presents its theoretical framework. The last two parts of

the chapter articulate research questions and present a brief glossary of terms.

Background

Saudi Arabia is located in the Middle East at the western part of the Asian

Continent. The country occupies 2,149,690 square kilometers and has a population in

excess of 27,000,000 (Central Department of Statistics & Information, 2010). Saudis

make up 69% of the population and Arab and non-Arab nationalities constitute the

remainder; the latter group also accounts for a greater percentage of the labor force

(Central Department of Statistics & Information, 2010). The predominant and official

language of the country is Arabic.

There are three institutes that are responsible for education in Saudi Arabia: the

Ministry of Education, which is in charge of general education; the Ministry of Higher

Education, which controls education above secondary school; and the Technical and

Vocational Training Corporation, which is responsible for technical and vocational

training.

1
2

Education in Saudi Arabia receives noticeable attention from the government. In

fact, in 2010/2011, 25% of the Saudi Budget (150,000,000,000 Saudi Riyals/ USD

40,000,000,000) was allocated for this purpose. Within education, English language

teaching and learning receives great emphasis and efforts of development. This could be

linked to the realization that English has become the predominate language of the world

and the discourse of international business, medicine, technology, and other fields.

Therefore, Ministry of Education has placed a particular emphasis on the teaching and

learning of this subject. Accordingly, students in Saudi Arabia begin studying English at

age 12 and there are plans to have students start learning the English language at an

earlier age.

Despite the efforts and expense, there is considerable dissatisfaction in the

country about student proficiency (Maroun & Samman, 2008). This dissatisfaction is

explicitly seen in the way the private sector in Saudi Arabia conceives graduates or

“outputs” of the educational system believing they are characterized by lacking in

specialization, practice, credibility in assessment systems, and work ethics. Also, the

students’ skills are “soft” and that there is inadequate coordination between business and

education (Maroun & Samman, 2008). Many families feel similarly and have chosen to

send their children (after school and on vacation) to private, specialized English language

institutes to learn the language. Many families believe that their children learn the

English language in those private institutes better than in governmental schools linking

that, in part, to the existence of better English language teachers in private institutes who
3

could teach their children through modern teaching practices. Consequently, the demand

for these institutes has increased; in 1999, there was only one private English language

institute in Buraydah; so far in 2013, there are more than 15, with the possibility of more

to come.

Targeted Curriculum

In this study, the author targets the English language curriculum that is taught in

Saudi Arabia in the third intermediate grade. By the time students enter this grade, they

have already completed six years of general study in elementary school and two years in

intermediate school and have studied English for three years (in Saudi governmental

schools, students start learning English at age 12, in the sixth year of elementary school).

After third intermediate grade, they will study English for three more years in secondary

school. This study chose this age group because it falls in the middle of the seven years

of English language study that is taught in Saudi schools and because the author believes

that students in the third intermediate grade at the age of 15 have enough English

language background to be involved successfully in this study.

Task-Based Language Teaching (TBLT)

Since Task-Based Language Teaching (TBLT) is the treatment (theme of

emphasis) of this study, it is crucial to introduce it to the reader. Task-Based Language

Teaching (TBLT) uses meaningful, inquiry-based, real world activities (Brown, 2007;

Willis & Willis, 2007). Many researchers view this method as emerging from

Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) (Brown, 2007; Ellis, 2003). Others see it as a

new approach to English language teaching and learning (Kumaravadivelu, 2006).


4

In TBLT, priority is placed on the completion of tasks that are assessed in terms

of outcome (Brown, 2007; Willis & Willis, 2007). Also, students pass through three

stages when adopting TBLT in an English language lesson. In the first stage, groups of

students engage in real life situations that are similar to the task they will perform in the

classroom (pre-task stage). In the second stage, groups of students perform the main task

of the associated lesson or content (running task stage). In the third stage, groups of

students display or provide an indicator that they have successfully completed the task for

the purposes of assessment and evaluation (task completion stage). The task as a

workplan (Breen, 1989; Ellis, 2003) is specified by the four competencies it can serve:

linguistic, sociolinguistic, discourse, and strategic (Canale, 1983). The inner design or

“complexity” of the task itself can be viewed from both cognitive and sociocultural

perspectives (Skehan, 1998).

Cognitively, the task is a means of carrying topics into classrooms, setting the

discourse motion, and encouraging students to produce an output (Wright, 1987). Tasks

require that learners build (a) an exemplar-based system that is lexical in nature and

includes both discrete lexical items and—importantly—ready-made formulaic chunks of

language; and (b) a rule-based system that consists of abstract representations of the

underlying patterns of the language, requires more processing, and is best suited for more

controlled, less fluent language performance (Skehan, 1998). When performing tasks,

learners pass through three stages during the process of producing the language:

conceptualization, formulation, and articulation (Levelt, 1989).


5

Socioculturally, tasks are designed to provide students with dialogic interaction

that can provide a “window for viewing the cognitive processes the learner is

internalizing” (Ellis, 2003, p. 184). In this way, learning is mediated through interaction

with others (Vygotsky, 1978)1. (For further information about TBLT, see the vignette,

lesson plan sample under Chapter III, and further lesson plans in Appendix K).

Rationale

Purpose of the Study

Some teachers, the author among them, believe that one reason for families’

dissatisfaction with English language learning and teaching in intermediate schools is

related to the existence of the traditional way of English language teaching in schools.

This traditional way of teaching includes instructional practices that are collectively

referred to as ‘prompting’ because they involve the prompting and ‘drilling’ of students.

These practices are also described colloquially as ‘drilling and killing,’ ‘memorizing,’

‘answering and not questioning,’ ‘checking and not correcting,’ ‘individual learning’ (as

opposed to group work learning), ‘teachers are the sources and producers of knowledge,’

‘students are the recipients,’ and ‘leaving no place for much thinking and understanding.’

Due to research scope purposes, this study assumes that the traditional way of English

language teaching does not help students better comprehend English when the emphasis

is placed on reading comprehension.

1 Further connection between TBLT and the sociocultural theory is discussed under the Theoretical

Framework and under Chapter II.


6

In contrast to this behaviorist approach, this study hypothesizes that a

constructivist instructional practice such as TBLT might lead to improved language

reading comprehension reflected through insights obtained while observing students and

through students’ achievement test scores in reading comprehension. This study

introduces TBLT as a transitional step for teaching practices in Saudi Arabia—a moving

away from skills-based (behaviorist) teaching and learning and towards practices that are

grounded in constructivism. Anticipated findings and recommendations out of this study

will help teachers make changes and avoid certain practices in the curriculum in favor of

having concrete progress and development in the instructional practices and which by the

end will lead to better teaching practices and learning in public schools.

Significance of the Study

The notion of significance varies from one society or culture to another and from

one person to another within the same community. What is important or meaningful to

one person could be nonsense to another and vice versa. However, there are universal

issues that are perceived to be positive and desired by the majority of people, such as

positive growth, morals and ethics, peace, and a good education. This study defines

significance as that which helps to bring about desirable results or when it helps avoid

undesired results. Applying this definition, investigation of this study, primarily, seeks to

determine whether the implementation of Task-Based Language Teaching in intermediate

schools will have a significant impact on student reading comprehension.

The significance of the study extends to help all parties involved directly and

indirectly in the educational process achieve desired outcomes through the avoidance of
7

doing inappropriate instructional practices that lead to undesired learning outcomes. The

avoided instructional practices should be replaced by more appropriate ones that could

help teachers develop professionally and which would lead to better learning situations.

Significance of this study extends to the contribution it provides the targeted

curriculum with; this study aims to representation of a transitional phase between a

highly-standardized curriculum to a more constructivist best practice curriculum. The

findings out of the adoption of the TBLT method would suggest or explain issues related

to its adequacy, advantages, and disadvantages, to the intermediate level. Knowledge and

practice of modern instructional practices could help English language teachers develop

professionally and, accordingly, students would learn more and even be more accurate

and fluent in the language of the world, the English language. By the time, the students

become accurate and fluent in English, more opportunities would be available for them to

pursue advanced studies in many countries and in various fields such as medicine,

politics, business, and industry, and which would lead to distinguished growth in society

and even more civilized culture.

Why TBLT Method in this Study

Besides the good qualities mentioned earlier that hopefully would take place in

the targeted curriculum when applying a constructivist practice rather than practices that

can be described by being behaviorist (constructivism and behaviorism are elaborately

discussed under Chapter II) and after reviewing the literature of second language

acquisition (SLA), and working and learning in the field of second language teaching and

learning, this study argues that TBLT is a suitable method that helps learners be fluent,
8

accurate, and even increase their reading comprehension achievement. It also argues that

TBLT serves the ultimate goal of learning a language which is using it. The general goal

of language learning is the fluent, accurate, and pragmatically effective use of the target

language and TBLT is a form of teaching that treats language primarily as a tool for

communication rather than as an object for study or manipulation (Ellis, 2003).

Although emphasis in this study is placed on reading comprehension, TBLT

incorporates the four language skills as it is manipulated through oral and written

(Bygate, Skehan, & Swain, 2001). It also develops students’ competence that enables

them to use the language in the kinds of situations outside the classroom that imitate real

life as well as a tool for communicating inside it. It is also beneficial to both the teacher

and the learners as they are focusing on a language as a tool (Brindley, 2009).

Theoretical Framework (Foundation for TBLT)

There is a new social attitude that argues that there is no one comprehensive

theory for learning but, instead, a combination of learning theories or inter-disciplinary

learning theories (Jarvis, 2006; Jarvis & Parker, 2005). TBLT is grounded in

constructivist theories, which adds strength and value to this method of teaching. The

following intends to demonstrate how constructivist theories embody TBLT.

TBLT is theoretically framed by Piagetian (cognitive) and Vygotskian

(sociocultural) perspectives as they both emphasize the role of social interaction in

cognitive development (Piaget, 1970; Vygotsky, 1978) and which is a fundamental

component of TBLT (Lee, 2000). For clarification, the cognitive and sociocultural

perspectives of learning, the psychological (cognitive) theories trace the arrows from the
9

person to the external objectified culture while sociological (sociocultural) learning

theories start with objectified culture and point inwards to the individual and, hence,

learning should be seen from both perspectives (Jarvis, 2009).

Two principles of TBLT suggest that it is theoretically framed and influenced by

Vygotsky’s (1978) sociocultural theory. First, learning through interaction among

learners is a fundamental principle of TBLT (Lee, 2000). At the same time, this principle

is partially resembled by or linked to mediation in the sociocultural theory and which, in

essence, suggests that learning is socially constructed (Vygotsky, 1978). (Further details

about Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory are discussed under Chapter II). Tasks in TBLT

include mediation by others in social interaction, by self through private speech, and

through artifacts (Lantolf, 2000).

Second, the sequence of TBLT in classroom and the roles played by both of the

students and teacher (Brown, 2007; Ellis, 2003; Skehan, 1998) are consistent with or

guided by the implications of Vygotsky’s (1978) theory of the Zone Proximal

Development ZPD. In essence, ZPD refers to what the learner can do without the help of

others and what the learner cannot do alone, but with the help of others. Linkage of

TBLT to ZPD suggests that the latter one guides task-based learning from two

perspectives. The first one is that in ZPD, “learning is oriented toward developmental

levels already reached by the learner and it does not aim for a new stage of the

developmental process but rather lags behind this process” (Vygotsky, 1978, p. 89). This

suggests that learning advances development where the learner builds new knowledge

(the things that she/he needed help from others to learn) upon the already known
10

knowledge (the learner’s actual knowledge). Similarly, when adopting tasks, it is

important to emerge from the known (in the pre-task stage) to the unknown or intended to

be learned (in the running and post task stages). Also, task-based learning needs to be an

appropriate challenge by requiring learners to use the language in situations that enable

them to dynamically build ZPDs.

The second perspective is that the nature of the ZPD requires the presence of self

and others so as to provide the necessary interaction for learning to take place. This is

similar to the case in TBLT since it requires the presence of the learner (the one who has

the limited knowledge) and the presence of the more knowledgeable others (these could

be the more knowledgeable peers or most likely their teacher who models the facilitator

role). The interaction required by the ZPD is present in the TBLT and which can be seen

by the roles played by students in groups work while performing tasks and the role of

their teacher as a facilitator. (Further details about TBLT principles in literature and

linkage to the Vygotsky’s learning perspectives are elaborately discussed under Chapter

II).

From a cognitive perspective, knowledge is the product of learning and is neither

totally external nor totally internal, but a result of interaction between heredity (internal)

and environment (external) (Piaget, 1969). This theoretical perspective embodies the

TBLT method involves two factors to be present when producing the language, which are

(a), the simultaneity of the information processed by the learner and (b) involvement in

context (Cummins, 1983). In other words, the nature of tasks requires students to have a
11

reciprocal interaction of language with their colleagues through production (within the

self) and reception (from the environment).

Principles of TBLT are further informed by a number of curriculum theorists and

thinkers. For instance, tasks which are seen as a synonym of activities and problem-

solving exercises (Brown, 2007; Wright, 1985) are informed by the notion of learning

through activities (Dewey, 2009), which holds that the curriculum “should exhibit these

activities to the child, and reproduce them in such ways that the child will gradually learn

the meaning of them, and be capable of playing his own part in relation to them” (p. 36).

Similarly, the best way to learn is through the exercise of problem-solving (Bruner,

1961). At last but not least, the notion of imitation of real life world to be present in

curricula (Friere, 2009) is a fundamental characteristic of tasks implemented in task-

based language teaching and learning (Fulcher, 2000). At last, the notion of dialogue

needed to be present in curricula (Schubert, Marshall, Sears, Allen, & Roberts, 2007) is

present among learners and teacher when performing a task (Willis & Willis, 2007).

Research Questions

1. Is using the TBLT method for teaching English as a second language for male

third-grade students in intermediate schools in Saudi Arabia more effective in the

acquisition of the English language, in terms of students’ achievement on reading

comprehension, than using the traditional “prompting” method?

2. What insights and issues can be gained about implementing TBLT in this research

setting?
12

Terms

1. Constructivist best practice curriculum is grounded in the idea that learners

build their own reality or at least interpret it based upon their perceptions of

experiences (Vygotsky, 1978), so that an individual's knowledge is a function of

one's prior experiences, mental structures, and beliefs that are used to interpret

objects and events (Jonassen, 1991). The curriculum focuses on performances of

subject matter understanding informed by traditions of disciplined/disciplinary

knowing (Henderson & Gornik, 2007). Following best practice implies that the

practitioner is aware of the current research and consistently offers clients the full

benefits of the latest knowledge, technology, and procedures (McKeon, 1998).

(More details about constructivism are discussed under Chapter II).

2. Communicative language teaching (CLT) is a catch all term for an approach to

language teaching that a focuses on meaning, fluency, the roles of teachers and

students, and effective communication (Brown, 2007). It also “aims to develop

the ability of learners to use language in real communication” (Ellis, 2003, p. 27).

3. Second language acquisition (SLA) research refers to the research that

characterizes learners’ underlying ability to use their knowledge of a second

language to communicate (Ellis, 2008).

4. Standardized curriculum is the curriculum in which the students are assessed

through tests (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005).


13

5. Targeted curriculum is the curriculum of the English language course of the

third intermediate school in Saudi Arabia. (More details are presented under The

Targeted Curriculum under Chapter I.

6. Tasks are activities that require the use of meaning-focused language (Skehan,

1998; Ellis, 2003).

7. Task-based assessments (TBA) are performance assessment tools that can assess

the learners’ communicative abilities in a second language (Ellis, 2003).

8. Task-based language teaching/task-based teaching (TBLT/TBT) is a method

of language teaching in which meaning is primary, there are real world problems

to solve, and priority is placed on the completion of the tasks, which are assessed

in terms of the outcome (Brown, 2007; Willis & Willis, 2007). This method is

seen by many researchers to be emerging from Communicative Language

Teaching (CLT) (Brown, 2007; Ellis, 2003). Others see it as a new approach to

English language teaching and learning (Kumaravadivelu, 2006).

9. Traditional method is the current instructional practice in Saudi Arabia, which is

characterized by prompting, drilling, memorizing, students’ answering and not

questioning, teachers’ checking and not correcting students’ homework and tests,

and individual learning (versus group learning). In this system, teachers are the

sources and producers of knowledge and students are the recipients—there is no

room for thinking and understanding (Maroun & Samman, 2008).


14

Summary

The study will take place in Buraydah, Saudi Arabia, where education, in general,

and the teaching of the English, in particular, receives considerable attention from the

Ministry of Education, business leaders, and families. There is considerable

dissatisfaction in the country with the quality of English language instruction. This study

argues that this dissatisfaction is due, in part, to the “prompting” method used to teach

English, and seeks whether or not the TBLT method will increase students’ reading

comprehension achievement. The TBLT method is theoretically framed by Piagetian

(1969) (cognitive) and Vygotskian (1978) (sociocultural) perspectives and is also

informed by Dewey’s (2009) notion of “learning through activities.” The Research

Questions clearly show that this study intends to find out whether or not the TBLT

method can help the students better acquire the English language through increasing their

achievement scores on reading comprehension and also seek for insights or issues that

can be gained about the TBLT method in this research setting. Towards the end of the

chapter is a brief glossary of the terms used in the study.


CHAPTER II

LITERATURE REVIEW

Introduction

This chapter discusses the literature that relates to the study. It consists of five

major sections. The first section outlines the principles of constructivism and

behaviorism, which are two of the theories on which the study is based. The treatment

group is grounded in constructivism and the control group is based on behaviorism. The

second section in this chapter discusses the evolution of Task-based Language Teaching

(TBLT) in second language acquisition (SLA) including subsections about foundational

thinkers of tasks, tasks across time, psycho and sociolinguistic dimensions of tasks,

differentiating Task-Based Teaching TBT from Task-Based Assessment TBA, and

research on TBLT. The third section focuses on TBLT basic principles shared by other

disciplines (Developmentally Appropriate Practice from early childhood, Whole

Language from literacy education, and Continuous Progress from educational

leadership). The fourth section outlines reading process including reading

comprehension and miscue analysis. The last section of this chapter concludes with a

general overview of mixed method research, observation, and measuring language

production with an emphasis on the two types of tests used in this study (placement and

achievement tests).

Learning Theory: Understanding Behaviorism and Constructivism

Observations of human learning led to the emergence of a number of theories; the

common and influential of which are behaviorism and constructivism. The principles
15
16

underlying these theories of learning have greatly influenced education systems and

instructional practices around the world. The skills-based approach to learning is

grounded in behaviorism; task-based learning has its roots in constructivism.

Behaviorism

The behaviorist school of thought arose before constructivism and is largely

credited to the Russian physiologist, Ivan Pavlov (1927/1960). Pavlov’s work was

originally known as contiguity conditioning. The terms contiguity conditioning

developed later on to be known as behaviorism when the term behaviorist was introduced

by Watson (1924) and whose work was a progress or development of Pavlov’s. Since

then, a set of learning theories which are built upon certain assumptions and share similar

characteristics are generally attributed to the school of behaviorism as discussed below.

Generally Speaking, behaviorist learning theories or assumptions emphasize the

external workings of humans and animals and implies that learning takes place through a

structure or pattern of behavior that the learner must go through for learning to occur

(Guthrie, 1935; Hull, 1935; Pavlov, 1927/1960; Skinner, 1938; Thorndike, 1913; Watson,

1924). One of these assumptions is that human behavior (learning) is a reflexive reaction

to environmental stimuli and that humans and animals share the same basic laws of

behavior (Pavlov, 1927/1960). This practice involved ringing a bell at the same time that

food was given to a dog; after consecutive repetitions, the dog associated the bell with the

food and salivated when the bell rang, even without the presence of food. That

experiment outlined that the first cue (the food) was innately effective or previously

learned (the unconditioned stimulus) and the second and new cue (the bell) was the
17

conditioned stimulus and, hence, the repeated association between the unconditioned and

conditioned stimuli resulted in a conditional reflex (salivation).

Another assumption of behaviorism, which is a progress of the reflexive reaction

to environmental stimuli, is that behavior is a product of the brain (Watson, 1924). This

assumption infers that all learning can be attributed to environmental stimuli and

responses. Laws for learning under this theory included frequency—which is the theory

that strength of a bond depends on the number of associations (repetition)—and recency,

which refers to the response that comes right after the stimulus and is usually paired with

it. In essence, this theory sees that learning happens due to the accumulation of habits.

Learning assumptions under the school of behaviorism after then started to be

simpler by having fewer laws. For instance, the law of contiguity, one-trial learning, is

introduced to be responsible for human learning and that the stimulus gains its associative

strength through its first pairing with the response (Guthrie, 1935). This law also

suggests that eliminating bad habits can be realized through: (a) the incompatible

response, which consists of connecting specific stimuli with specific response; (b) the

fatigue method, which allows an unwanted act to be repeated until it fatigues; and (c) the

threshold method, through which the cues that normally elicit the unwanted behavior are

introduced at a low intensity, to prevent the behavior from reoccurring.

The preceding and even the following assumptions of the behaviorist school do

emphasize two important characteristics for learning occurrence as outlined which are

repetition and motivation. These two characteristics needed to be present when learning

since learning takes place due to the stimulus and response bond and happen through trial
18

and error (Thorndike, 1913). The notion of learning due to stimulus and response bond

and happens through trial and error involves three major laws and five minor laws for this

vision of learning: (a) the law of effect, which proposes that the responses that lead to

satisfaction are repeated while those that lead to annoyance are not; (b) the law of

readiness, which states that the annoyance and satisfaction depend on the state of the

behaving organism; and (c) the law of exercise, which states that learning is enhanced by

practice. The minor laws for learning include: (a) the law of multiple responses, which

states that, when the learner is faced with a problem and produces an unsatisfying

response, s/he tries again to produce something satisfactory; (b) the law of attitude, which

holds that learning does not occur independently of the state of the behaving organism;

(c) the law of the prepotency of elements, where the learner responds only to the relevant

aspects of a situation; (d) the law of response by analogy, which states that the learner

can respond to a situation with the responses learned in a similar previously learned

situation; and (e) the law of associative shifting, which refers to a transfer of stimulus

control from one cue to another. In essence, these major and minor laws infer that better

learning and teaching involves motivation and repetition.

Placing the most important goal first when teaching and designing lesson plans is

another characteristic of the behaviorist school of learning (Hull, 1935). This

characteristic is inferred from the Hull’s (1935) Molar behavior Theory which was based

on stimulus as an independent variable (stimulus) and response as the dependent variable

(response). This theory involves five major variables that intervene with learning. The

first, which Hull termed drive was defined as an aroused state of the learner, caused
19

either by the lack of some needed substance or a painful stimulation. The second variable

was habit strength which connected the stimulus with the response. The third variable is

reaction potential which referred to the tendency to give a learned response to a given

stimulus at a particular time. Reactive inhabitation is the fourth variable, which involved

a muscular effort that led to fatigue. The final variable is conditioned inhabitation

referred to stopping the drive. In essence, this theory in one perspective suggests that a

learner comes with a desire or need where she/he begins to learn (Drive) and becomes

involved in the process of learning (habit strength, reaction potential, reactive

inhabitation) until is satisfied and learned is accomplished (conditioned inhabitation).

A turning assumption under the behaviorist school of learning is that learning

happens through operant conditioning, where the learner acts in response to the

environment and receives a reward (reinforcement) for a particular behavior, which

eventually produces a bond between the operation (behavior) and the stimulus (Skinner,

1938). This assumption involves two classes of reinforcers: positive reinforcers, to elicit

a desired response and aversive stimuli, to repress those that are deemed undesirable or to

be avoided. In practical words, reinforcement types could be positive such as

encouraging the repetition of the response by rewarding the learner with a prize or

negative such as encouraging repetition by exempting the learner from homework

following an exceptional accomplishment. Punishment is inferred to be type of

reinforcement by itself such as not giving a learner a privilege s/he usually receives

(Good & Brophy, 1990).


20

To conclude, there are some key assumptions under the behaviorist school of

learning. One assumption is that learning is a reflexive reaction to environmental stimuli

(Pavlov, 1927/1960). Another, learning is the product of learning and can be attributed to

environmental stimuli and responses (Watson, 1924). Also, the one-trial learning is

responsible for human learning and that the stimulus gains its associative strength

through its first pairing with the response (Guthrie, 1935). Moreover, learning takes

place due to the stimulus and response bond and happens through trial and error

(Thorndike, 1913). Further, learning is attributed to independent and dependent variables

(Hull, 1935). Furthermore, learning occurs through operant conditioning which takes

place in response to the environment and receives a reward (reinforcement) (Skinner,

1938). At last but not least, these assumptions of the behaviorist school of learning had

had considerable implications on schools and instructional practices. The practices

informed by behaviorism are usually characterized by repetition, drilling, individualized

(versus group) learning, and recently placing emphasis on motivating learners through

both types of reinforcement. At last, these practices underlie the traditional method of

teaching used in the control group in this study.

Constructivism

The constructivist school of thought appeared early in the 20th century and has

roots in psychology and physiology (D’Angelo, Touchman, & Clark, 2008; Driscoll,

1994). The constructivist school of thought, unlike the behaviorist one, does distinguish

the study of human behavior from that of the animal. The constructivist school of

thought emphasizes the role of social interaction in cognitive development (Piaget, 1970;
21

Vygotsky, 1978). A number of foundational thinkers under the constructivist school

contributed to our understanding of how learning takes place from various perspectives.

However, this study is not intended to emphasize the differences among the constructivist

school foundational thinkers or to support one vision over another, but instead, outlines

the major assumptions and principles of constructivism and which embody the treatment

(Task-Based Language Teaching) of this study as going to be demonstrated later on.

A fundamental assumption underlies the constructivist school is that human

processes can be understood only by considering where they occur in growth (Vygotsky,

1978). This assumption involves a genetic or developmental method that higher mental

(cultural) processes in the individual have their own origin in social processes and the

claim that mental processes can be understood by identifying the tools and signs that

mediate them. In other words, human behavior (i.e., learning) occurs according to a

genetic development within the child accompanied by the trigger of culture and which are

supported by unique tools of humans (such as speech) that mediate learning.

Development of human behavior (learning) can be understood when examining the

chronological order of speech and action. At an early stage the child’s action precedes

his/her speech while in a later stage the child’s speech precedes his/her actions

(Vygotsky, 1978).

Another assumption that interacts with learning is that, within society, individuals

have the property of the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) which refers to the phase

between what the child could do alone and what s/he can do or learn with the help of a

more knowledgeable other (Vygotsky, 1978). This assumption necessarily infers that
22

“learning oriented toward developmental levels already reached is ineffective from the

viewpoint of a child’s overall development. [Learning] does not aim for a new stage of

the developmental process but rather lags behind this process” (p. 89). In other words,

the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) suggests that learning should be in advance of

development. To conclude, the Vygotskian vision, as a fundamental component of the

constructivist school of thought, sees that learning is socially constructed. Learners build

their own reality or at least interpret it based upon their perceptions of experiences.

Knowledge, then, is a function of prior experiences, mental structures, and beliefs that are

used to interpret objects and events.

Another vision of learning under the constructivist school of thought was that

learning was more cognitive than social but included maturational variables that were

affected or shaped by the environment (Piaget, 1970). This vision of learning proposed

three types of experience: (a) exercise that is self-directed and self-rewarded; (b) physical

experience, which is a process of learning about the properties of objects; and (c) logico-

mathematical, which is a higher type of learning. These experiences yield knowledge

that is spontaneous and directly related to the maturation of the brain. Thus, cognitive

perspective of learning suggests that learning involves (a) equiliburation, which is

responsible for development (defined as the physical and social experience of the

environment); (b) assimilation, which is the process of adding new experiences or inputs

to old and existing ones; and (c) accommodation, which involves building new

experiences by integrating new and old ones.


23

Cognitive development is highly emphasized under this vision of learning

proposing four stages of development (Piaget, 1970). In the first one, sensorimotor

period, from birth to two years old, the child progresses from unintentional behavior to

learning from “trial and error” and begins thinking of symbols and causality. In the

second one, pre-operational period, from two to seven years old, the child begins to show

some conceptual behavior. In the third one, concrete operations, from seven to eleven

years old, the child displays reversible thinking and understands the change in the

appearance of some substances. In the fourth one, formal operations, from eleven to

fifteen years old, the child arrives at a higher-order schema by going beyond the

immediate sensory experience and thinking abstractly.

A very important vision under the constructivist school of thought emphasized the

role of experience arguing that individuals learn though activities (Dewey, 1938/1997).

This argument sees that when the child is involved in activities will gradually learn their

meanings and can do his/her own part in relation to them. This vision of learning sees

learning to be a continuous process:

The present affects the future anyway. The persons who should have

some idea of the connection between the two are those who have achieved

maturity. Accordingly, upon them devolves the responsibility for instituting the

conditions for the kind of present experience which has a favorable effect upon

the future. (Dewey, 1938/1997, p. 50)

One more vision of learning under the constructivist school of thought is the

emphasis of meaning construction through culture (Bruner, 1984). This vision sees that
24

reality is synonymous with learning and the product of meaning-making that was shaped

by traditions and culture (Bruner, 1984). In other words, culture could not be excluded

and that individuals were only mirrors that reflected culture. A vital component of this

vision for learning is interaction which provides “a communal cast to individual thought

and impose[d] certain unpredictable richness on any culture’s way of life, thought, or

feeling” (p. 11). Education, in this regard, is to aid individuals in making meaning and

constructing reality and that the best way to learn is through the exercise of meaningful

problem-solving.

To conclude, the constructivist school of thought emphasized for learning the

roles of culture, interaction, cognitive development, experience, and meaning making.

Making meaning is an active process in which meaning is constructed via personal

experience and conceptual growth comes out of the negotiation (Driscoll, 1994; Merrill,

1991). Recently, constructivism has received greater status and appreciation by

educators around the world and has started to influence schools and instructional

practices with the above constructivist stated assumptions. Some of the considerable

implications of the constructivist school of thought include emphasis on comprehension

rather than memorization, group work rather than solo or individualized learning, and

imitation of real life experiences. The principles of the constructivist school of thought

underlies the principles of TBLT as will be revealed shortly, which is the treatment used

in this study.
25

Evolution of Tasks-Based Language Teaching

in Second Language Acquisition

The use of tasks (or activities as called earlier in literature) began in the field of

second language acquisition SLA towards the end of 1960s and at the beginning of 1970s

(Burt & Dulay, 1973; Hakuta, 1976; Krashen, 1994; Long, 1996). Tasks, at the

beginning, were used to describe particular aspects of language acquisition such as that of

grammar and, later, were based on theories such as those related to language production.

Across time, a task was sometimes used as a synonym with problem-solving and role-

play techniques and the vice versa (Brown, 2007). The use of tasks in English language

teaching and learning was linked to the development of SLA research (Ellis, 2003). The

following intends to show a number of aspects related to the evolution of Task-Based

Language Teaching TBLT in the field of SLA. Some of these aspects include

foundational thinkers of tasks, definitions of tasks including the one this study was based

upon, cognitive and socio-cultural dimensions of tasks, distinguishing task-based

teaching from task-based assessment, and finally research on task-based learning and

teaching.

TBLT Foundational Thinkers

Every field has foundational thinkers who share certain characteristics. One of

these characteristics is that the scholar has provided the field, through his/her work, with

an original contribution. Another characteristic is the influence of the scholar’s work

needed to be observable. The last characteristic to be considered is the extent to which

the scholar’s work informs the current and future generations. This study discusses
26

foundational thinkers in the TBLT field and the important contributions made by each as

they arise starting from the following section.

Tasks Across Time

Attempting to define and theorize tasks has developed and accumulated across

time beginning in the mid of 1980s (Breen, 1989; Bygate, Skehan, & Swain, 2001;

Crookes, 1986; Ellis, 2003; Lee, 2000; Long, 1985; Nunan, 1989; Prabhu, 1987;

Richards, Platt, & Weber, 1985). These attempts have sometime provided literature with

a broader definition of tasks (Breen, 1989; Crookes, 1986; Richards, et al) and sometime

with a narrower definition of tasks (Bygate, Skehan, & Swain, 2001; Ellis, 2003; Lee,

2000; Long, 1985; Nunan, 1989; Prabhu, 1987). The broader attempts have suggested

that a task is an activity that helps accomplish language learning or simply a piece of

work that provides learners with opportunity and knowledge to communicate in the target

language. The narrower attempts have suggested that a task is a piece of work related to

the real world, facilitated by the teacher, urged learners to comprehend, manipulate,

produce, and interact in the target language, and call for primarily meaning-focused

language use. Examining these definitions of tasks by each foundational thinker

separately shows defining and designing tasks for this study are grounded in two

definitions. The first one suggests that a task is an activity characterized by interaction,

structuring and sequencing, a focus on meaning, comprehension, manipulation, and

production of the target language (Lee, 2000). The second one suggests that a task

requires learners to use the language in a meaningful way (Bygate, Skehan, & Swain,

2001).
27

Cognitive Dimension of Tasks

One component that accompanied the evolution of Task-Based Language

Teaching was attempts to cognitively theorize and describe tasks (Kumaravadivelu, 1991;

Prabhu, 1987; Robinson, 2001). Tasks are cognitively analyzed to have thought,

negotiation between the learner and the teacher, and varied in their formation according

to the learners’ cognitive needs and goals. Cognitive processes involved in tasks

included understanding language (Richards, et al, 1985) and “comprehending,

manipulating, producing, and interacting in the target language” (Nunan, 1989, p. 10).

Analysis and processes of the cognitive dimension of tasks discussed above

placed noticeable and careful consideration when designing tasks (Brown, 2007; Wright,

1987). Tasks are designed as a means of instruction that carry topics into the classroom

settings, set the flow of instruction, and urge the students to produce an output. Tasks are

designed as a workplan (Breen, 1989) and are also designed based on the four aspects

they could serve, which includes: linguistic competence, sociolinguistic competence,

discourse competence, and strategic competence (Canale, 1983). The multiple aspects of

the cognitive dimension of tasks yielded a crucial conclusion that tasks can be focused

tasks, structure-based tasks, comprehension tasks, and consciousness-raising tasks (Ellis,

2003).

Socio-cultural and Psycholinguistic Dimensions of Tasks

Socio-cultural dimension. Another component that accompanied the evolution

of Task-Based Language Teaching was linking TBLT to existing learning theories. For

instance, the Socio-cultural Theory of Mind (SCT) originally brought by Vygotsky (1978)
28

does theoretically embody tasks (as explained earlier in Chapter I and later through

Chapter II) and has greatly participated in shaping tasks. For instance, the Socio-cultural

Theory of Mind (SCT) proposed three ways for mediated learning to take place which

include: the use of material tools, the use of interaction with others, and/or the use of

symbols (Vygotsky, 1978). Tasks do go along with the mediated learning since the

application of tasks in classroom requires interaction among learners including their

teacher.

Linking tasks in language learning to the mediation underlying SCT has been

perceived similarly in literature (Lantolf, 2000). This linkage suggests that mediated

learning can be carried out through three ways: (a) by others in social interaction, (b) by

self through private speech, and (c) by artifacts such as tasks. Also, that external

mediation serves as the means by which internal mediation is achieved and, hence, the

new linguistic forms and meanings arise out of the social or interpersonal linguistic

activity that learners engage in while they are performing a task (Ellis, 2003). This is to

say that an important phase of the evolution of TBLT in second language acquisition was

linking tasks when used in language learning and teaching to a constructivist learning

theory as shown clearly in the exposed relationship between TBLT and the SCT.

Psycholinguistic dimension. Summarily, the psycholinguistic dimension

accompanied the evolution of TBLT in the field of second language acquisition was

present through attempts to psychologically theorize or explain tasks and linking them to

existing psychological theories (Long, 1996; Skehan, 1998; Yule, 1997). The first

attempt is the Interaction Hypothesis which is built on the premise that learners obtain
29

comprehensible input when given the opportunity to negotiate meaning when

communication breaks down (Long, 1996). The second one is the Cognitive Approach to

Tasks which indicates that learners build (a) an exemplar-based system, which is lexical

in nature and includes both discrete lexical items and, importantly, ready-made formulaic

chunks of language and (b) a rule-based system, which consists of abstract

representations of the underlying patterns of the language, requires more processing, and

is best suited for more controlled, less fluent language performance (Skehan, 1998). The

third model is Communicative Effectiveness which explains how learners attempt or

undertake the various problems that appear when performing a task through the

identification of the referent and through the role taking where learners need to identify

and encode the referents they wish to communicate about (Yule, 1997). Such attempts

helped greatly researchers and teachers who were interested in investigating or adopting

TBLT in language classrooms understand the psychological processes underlying the

application of TBLT.

Recently there is even a sounding linkage of the psycholinguistic dimension of

tasks to Vygotsky’s (1978) Zone of Proximal Development theory (ZPD) (Ellis, 2003).

The ZPD basically explains the difference between an individual’s actual and potential

levels of development (what the learner can do without the help of others and what the

learner cannot do alone, but with the help of others). Linkage of TBLT to ZPD suggests

that the latter one guides task-based learning from two perspectives. The first one is that

in ZPD, “learning is oriented toward developmental levels already reached by the learner

and it does not aim for a new stage of the developmental process but rather lags behind
30

this process” (Vygotsky, 1978, p. 89). This suggests that learning advances knowledge

and the learner builds new knowledge (the things that she/he needed help from others to

learn) upon the already known knowledge (the learner’s actual knowledge). Similarly,

when adopting tasks, it is important to emerge from the known (in the pre-task stage) to

the unknown or intended to be learned (in the running and post task stages). Also, task-

based learning needs to be an appropriate challenge by requiring learners to use the

language in situations that enable them to dynamically build ZPDs.

The second perspective is that the nature of the ZPD requires the presence of self

and others so as to provide the necessary interaction for learning to take place. This is

similar to the case in TBLT which requires the presence of the learner (the one who has

the limited knowledge) and the presence of the more knowledgeable others (these could

be the more knowledgeable peers or most likely their teacher who models the facilitator

role). The interaction required by the ZPD is present in the TBLT which can be seen by

the roles played by students in group work while performing tasks and the role of their

teacher as a facilitator.

Task-Based Teaching (TBT) and Task-Based Assessment (TBA)

In a later phase of the evolution of task-based language teaching appeared the

distinction of the terms Task-Based Teaching (TBT) (sometimes used interchangeably

with TBLT to refer to the same concept) and Task-Based Assessment TBA in the field of

second language acquisition (Brindley, 2009; Brown, 2007; Ellis, 2003; Fulcher, 2000;

Kumaravadivlu, 2006,). There is fine thread of difference between the two terms TBT

and TBA. In TBT, participants learn collaboratively through tasks and can also be
31

assessed through performance tools. TBA, on the other hand, involves performance

assessment tools only that can assess the learners’ second language communicative

abilities (Chalhoub-Deville, 2001). This means that there are teaching tasks (TBT) and

assessment tasks (TBA) (Brindley, 1998). The reason for presenting the distinction

between TBT (TBLT) and TBA lies behind the frequent confusion among practitioners

who use TBA thinking they are applying TBLT in classroom. The following will provide

further description of both terms to clarify each concept.

Task-based assessment (TBA). There are key characteristics that distinguish

TBT from TBA (Ellis, 2003). TBA requires extensive attention for task selection to

maintain validity and the focus of TBA is on measuring task performance. Further, TBA

tasks are holistic tools that are used for evaluating communicative performance from

learners in the context of language use that is meaning-focused, imitates real world

behavior, and is aimed at a specific objective. Among the three language assessment

paradigms (psychometric, integrative, and communicative language testing), TBA falls

under communicative language testing and requires three things: performance,

authenticity, and imitation of real life situations (Fulcher, 2000). In practical words, TBA

is used as a test tool for measuring a particular language aspect/s and involves

communication within the assessment by the test taker, measures what it is intended to

measure, and the nature of the assessment content needed to imitate real life experiences.

Task-based teaching (TBT). TBT (or TBLT) method on the other hand is seen

as a new teaching method by itself (Kumaravadivelu, 2006). Whereas others view it not

as a method of instruction by itself, but a perspective within the Communicative


32

Language teaching (CLT) framework that places more emphasis on tasks (Brown, 2007).

TBLT is also a method of teaching to run the instruction in classroom that is

characterized by being (a) a method where meaning is primary, (b) a problem to solve,

(c) related to the real world, and (d) a method were much priority is placed on the

completion of the tasks, which are assessed in terms of the outcome (Willis & Willis,

2007). Discussion of the distinction between TBLT and TBA during the evolution of

task-based language teaching in second language acquisition helped both of researchers

and teachers employ either or both concepts as needed in classrooms.

Research on Task-Based Learning and Teaching

Research literature has addressed important aspects or issues of task-based

learning and teaching (De Bot, 2001; Kim, 2008; Rivers, 2010; Skehan, 1998; Stevens,

1983; Swain & Lapkin, 2000; & Swan 2005). These aspects included the complexity of

tasks, efficiency of task-based learning and teaching, enhancing language production

when adopting task-based learning, and criticism of task-based learning and teaching.

The following presents the reviewed research literature on each of these aspects.

Complexity of tasks. The complexity of tasks has been a central theme for task-

based research due to its immediate relevance to learner production (Carless, 2008;

Robinson, 2001; Skehan, 1998). The (inner) complexity of tasks influences learner

production and, hence, attention needs to be paid for sequencing tasks on the basis of

their cognitive complexity is preferable to sequencing them based on difficulty (the

learner’s building new knowledge on previous obtained or learned knowledge). It is

obvious that emphasis on the (inner) complexity of tasks goes along with the principles of
33

the Zone Proximal Development ZPD (as further discussed earlier in Chapter I and II)

proposed by Vygotsky (1978). The (outer) complexity of tasks needs to be organized and

designed carefully due to its beneficial effects on learner production. Task-based lesson

is organized in accordance with the three stages of a task (pre-task, during task, and post-

task) (Ellis, 2003).

Efficiency of tasks. Learning efficiency through tasks has been demonstrated in

research literature of task-based learning and teaching (Brown, 2007; Swain & Lapkin,

2000). Task-based teaching promotes pedagogical tasks which form nucleus of the

classroom activity. Also, Oral and written tasks provided the learners with opportunities

to learn language. In addition, children know far more language through activities (tasks)

than what they exhibit in response to classroom drills (Stevens, 1983). Moreover,

artifacts such as tasks helped in tracking learner development over time and also

contributed to shaping the teacher’s interactions with learners as they pulled into focus a

range of mediating alternatives of varying explicitness (Poehner, 2009).

Research on efficiency of tasks in teaching extends to suggest that tasks

participate in creating a real purpose for language use and provides a natural context for

language study (Izadpanah, 2010; Swain & Lapkin, 1998). In other words, learning

through tasks helped students learn language since the context the tasks present does

provide the students with a real learning purpose. Providing learners with a purpose

while performing tasks helped students also solve linguistic problems through dialogue.

At last, efficiency of tasks showed a significant effect on acquisition in experimental

settings (De Bot, 2001; Swain & Lapkin, 2000).


34

Enhancing TBLT. Another aspect of TBLT research literature is related to

enhancing language production when adopting task-based learning in classroom (Albert

& Kormos, 2004; Kim, 2008). For instance, creativity is found to affect participants’

output in oral narrative tasks moderately. Similarly, learner’s higher level of involvement

during the task promoted more effective initial vocabulary learning and better retention of

the new words. Also, learners need to know that the task outcome (completing the task)

is the most important thing as the purpose of the task to use the language rather than

display it (Ellis, 2003). In addition, learning through any given task should represent a

rehearsal for future social or professional interaction (Rivers, 2010).

Criticism of TBLT. However, fewer researchers had quite different opinions or

were skeptical about the efficiency of tasks in language teaching (Mohamed, 2004; Swan

2005). For instance, task-based instruction is not greatly better than the traditional

methods and is based on unproved hypotheses (Swan, 2005). Also, learners’ preferences

relating to deductive and inductive tasks and how learners see the effectiveness of both

types showed that learners see both types to be useful and there are no significant

differences in learners’ preference to either type (Mohamed, 2004). Although those

opposing perspectives about the efficiency of tasks in language teaching were explained

in TBLT literature as discussed below, the main purpose that made this study bring those

two opposing perspectives prior to the application of this study is to have an outlook to

which perspective the results of this study might support.

Criticizing perspectives of the efficiency of tasks in language teaching (those who

are not in favor of or against task-based learning) are also explained or challenged in
35

TBLT research literature (Murphy, 2003; Plews & Zhao, 2010; Swain and Lapkin, 2000).

One explanation in a study about Canadian English as a second language revealed that

teachers adapt TBLT in ways that do not go along with or contradict its theoretical

principles. In other words, some teachers implement TBLT in way that they do not

follow all of TBLT principles and, hence, students might not get the desired outcome.

This makes teachers mistakenly refer this problem to the application of TBLT. Another

explanation of task-based learning lacking significance is attributed to factors beyond its

principles such as that of learners’ influence that is found to jeopardize or hinder the task

designer’s goals. A final explanation for the emergence of the opposing perspectives

about the efficiency of tasks in language teaching could be attributed to the need of

further research to cover various aspects of task-based learning and teaching (Candlin,

2001; Samuda & Bygate, 2008) and one of the purposes of this study is to participate in

adding a line to the TBLT literature.

TBLT Basic Principles Shared by Other Disciplines

Although the notion of Tasked-Based Language Teaching in this study is tightly

related to second language acquisition, there are three other disciplines of knowledge that

share characteristics similar to TBLT. These disciplines include: (a) Developmentally

Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Education, (b) Whole Language in Literacy

Education, and (c) the concept of Continuous Process within Educational Leadership.

The following intends to outline the basic principles those disciplines share with TBLT.
36

Developmental Appropriate Practice (DAP)

Developmental Appropriate Practice DAP is a comprehensive approach that was

developed by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)

and focuses on age appropriateness, individual appropriateness, and knowledge of

children’s social and cultural contexts (Kasten, Lolli, & Wilt, 1998). DAP involves that

children need to construct their own knowledge through exploration and interaction

(Bredekamp & Copple, 1997). Also, teachers using DAP prepare the learning

environment and plan authentic experiences in which children will become actively

involved. In addition, from a DAP perspective, curriculum is integrated and assessment

is authentic and emerges from the “experiences” in which the children have been actively

engaged (Bredekamp, 1987).

The above characteristics of DAP do exist in TBLT. TBLT, for instance, requires

providing the students with the context while performing a task (Willis & Willis, 2007).

TBLT requires the appropriateness level of difficulty of the task to the students’ level

(Ellis, 2003). TBLT is designed as a workplan (Breen, 1989). Assessment in TBLT

requires three characteristics including performance, authenticity, and imitates real life

situations (Fulcher, 2000).

Whole Language

Whole Language is a broad concept and takes its roots from various disciplines of

knowledge and which refers to the “beliefs and assumptions that represent the best in

what the field of language arts/reading has to offer in terms of the emerging body of

knowledge regarding language and becoming literate” (Kasten, Lolli, & Wilt, 1998, p.
37

24). Whole Language is a constructivist philosophy about learning and teaching and is

connected to the work of Vygotsky (1978), Piaget (1970), and Dewey (1938/1997). A

vital principle underlying Whole Language is that the learner is active and involved in the

process (Cazden, 1992). Other principles include emphasis on integrated curriculum and

that learning environment be authentic, meaningful, and stimulate real life situations

(Crafton, 1991).

The above characteristics of Whole Language do exist in TBLT. The emphasis of

TBLT, for instance, is placed on learner as s/he does most of the work during the stages

of tasks (Ellis, 2003). Also, imitating real life experiences and focus on meaning and

understanding are key components when designing tasks (Willis & Willis, 2007). At last

but not least, the nature or complexity of task-based learning and teaching makes it

necessary to use or integrate more than one learning skill such as that of reading with

writing and speaking with listening (Skehan, 1998). At last, the terminology used for

forming the principles of Whole Language shows that Whole Language is more holistic

and more comprehensive than that of the terminology used in TBLT and even more than

that of DAP and Continuous Progress.

Continuous Progress (Educational Leadership)

Continuous Progress is a “continuous movement through the curriculum”

(Kasten, Lolli, and Wilt, 1998, p. 28). Continuous Progress and TBLT share a number of

characteristics. For instance, Continuous Progress promotes that children be aware of

their learning based on their interests, needs, and abilities (Anderson & Pavan, 1993) and

which is the case of the principle of negotiation under TBLT (Skehan, 1998). While
38

Continuous Progress promotes meaningful learning and exposure of learners to outside

experiences (Anderson & Pavan, 1993), TBLT stresses learners’ imitation of real life

situations (Ellis, 2003). Teachers play very much similar roles in both of Continuous

Progress and TBLT as they are responsible for creating the learning experiences based on

the learners’ needs. (Anderson & Pavan, 1992; Willis & Willis, 2007). At last but not

least, the only part that Continuous Progress is quite different from TBLT is the part

related to assessment which requires very long term in Continuous Progress (Anderson &

Pavan, 1992) which might not be a must in TBLT as assessment in the latter one could be

determined by the completion of the task (Ellis, 2003). At last, what is said about the

overall description of DAP and Whole Language to TBLT is also applicable to

Continuous Progress since the principles underlying each show the possibility of

describing TBLT as a form of practice of Continuous Progress.

Reading Process

As this study uses reading comprehension as an outcome measure, it is crucial to

shed some light on or discuss what reading means and what happens when reading. Each

discipline defines reading from different perspectives or with different lenses. In this

study, reading is defined from a literacy perspective. From that point of view, reading is

a problem-solving, meaning-making process, in which the reader considers the meaning

the author is making while at the same time building her/his own (Goodman, Watson, &

Burke, 1996). From this perspective, reading can also be described as a receptive

language process in which the reader constructs meaning from print. As Goodman

(2003) explained:
39

Reading is a psycholinguistic process in that it starts with a linguistic

surface representation encoded by a writer and ends with meaning which the

reader constructs. There is thus an essential interaction between language and

though in reading. The writer encodes though as language and the reader decodes

language to thought (p. 95).

Five processes take place during reading, (a) recognition-initiation, where the

brain recognizes a graphic display in the visual field as written language and initiates

reading; (b) prediction, where the brain starts anticipating and predicting while seeking

order and significance in sensory inputs; (c) confirmation, where the brain verifies the

obtained predictions; (d) correction, where the brain reprocesses when finding

inconsistencies; and (e) termination, where the brain terminates the reading when the task

is completed (Goodman, 2003; Smith, 1994; Weaver, 1988).

Reading Comprehension

Comprehension is considered to be the ultimate aim of reading (Nation, 2005;

Spear-Swerling, 2006). It involves making explicit what is implicit in a sentence or in a

situation (Schank, 1982). Comprehension is a result of, or accompanied by, a set of

fundamental procedures or principles (Smith, 1994). These include cognitive structures,

which function as a summary of the reader’s past experience that organizes everything

the reader knows about the world and functions as the basis of all his/her perceptions and

understanding of the world. Those cognitive structures include understanding spoken and

written language. Comprehension and prediction are related as prediction means asking

questions while comprehension means being able to answer some of these questions.
40

Reading cannot be separated from thinking since reading is a form of thought that is

focused on or stimulated by written text. These principles give three implications about

reading: (a) reading needs to be fast because the brain must move ahead quickly to avoid

becoming bogged down by the visual details of the text, (b) the brain directs eyes to

select the visual information in the text and where to move next, (c) and reading depends

on non-visual information (Smith, 1994). So as to help students effectively achieve

reading comprehension, a teacher needed to consider four important issues (Fielding &

Pearson, 1994). These include allowing sufficient time for actual text reading, teacher’s

guiding students to focus on understanding the text, providing students with opportunities

for peer and collaborative learning, and giving students chance to talk to their teacher and

one another about their responses to reading.

Reading comprehension is achieved when meaning is constructed out of text

(Goodman, Watson, & Burke, 1996). The meaning is based on information tied to the

reader’s purpose for reading, which is then integrated with existing knowledge and

linguistic schema. This schema is used to produce and comprehend language (Goodman,

2003; Weaver, 1988).

Miscue Analysis

Miscue is defined as “an oral response to the text which does not match the

expected response” (Goodman, 2003, p. 88). This means that cues are the responses that

match the expected ones. Hence, when analyzing miscues, a teacher or researcher

compares the observed responses to the expected ones. Miscue analysis emphasizes the

notion that the crucial difference between good readers and poor readers is not the
41

quantity of miscues, but the quality (Weaver, 1988). Reading is not an exact process and

readers develop understanding of the parameters of a process by exploring them

(Goodman, Watson, & Burke, 1996). The relationship between reading miscues and

comprehension is attributed to the brain. As Goodman (2003) explained, “Oral reading is

not what the eye has seen but what the brain has generated the mouth to report. The text

is what the brain responds to; the oral output reflects the underlying competence and the

psycholinguistic responses that have generated it” (p. 237).

Mixed Method Research

At this point, this chapter addresses the last section of literature that relates to the

study emphasizing mixed method research with subsections of observation and testing.

Mixed method research refers to the research that involves two or more methods, such as

quantitative and qualitative, in the same study (Tashakkori & Teddlie, 1998). Also,

mixed method research is more common in quasi-experimental studies that are linked to

evaluation purposes such as the value of instructional practices.

Mixed method research, when done properly, can provide a number of

advantages. Those advantages include that the study avoids possible unimethod bias

(Wiersma & Jurs, 2009). Also, mixed method research can speak to and be heard by

different audiences—those who are convinced with numbers and those who are more

attracted to understanding and meaning. Mixed methods help investigators look at the

data from multiple perspectives, which can lead to a more complete understanding of the

findings. This advantage also enables researchers to address or answer more than one

question in a study, which is the case in this study.


42

Observation

Since observation, as a research data collection technique, is classified as a

qualitative research method, it is valuable to clearly understand some of the

characteristics of qualitative research. Qualitative research is characterized by the search

for meaning and understanding. It is considered to be an inductive process, in which a

researcher is the primary tool or instrument for collecting and analyzing data and the final

product contains descriptive data (Merriam, 2002).

Observation is defined in qualitative research literature as “the systematic

description of events, behavior, and artifacts in the social setting chosen for study”

(Marshall & Rossman, 1989, p. 79). Observation also helps an investigator describe the

existing situations under study using his/her five senses to gather data to provide a written

form (Erlandson, Harris, Skipper, & Allen, 1993). Observation as a qualitative data

collection technique can be used with other data collection methods in a study or by itself

as the main data collection technique, such as in grounded theory research and case

studies (Merriam, 2002). When collecting data through observation, a researcher is the

primary instrument of data collection and analysis as the nature of observation triggers

him/her to code, compare, and analyze data as s/he begins collecting it (Merriam, 2002).

Testing

Testing began at the end of the 1800s and at the beginning of 1900s when Binet, a

science French scholar, developed the first IQ tests in France which aimed at improving

the use of mental resources to increase student intelligence (Binet, 1899).

Simultaneously, testing began in the United States with the U.S. Army for both medical
43

and IQ purposes (Yerkes, 1930). American psychologists at the beginning of the

previous century found a strong relationship between IQ scores and real life suggesting

that individuals with lower IQ scores were unskilled workers and that, the higher the

score, the greater the skills (Terman, 1916). That finding promoted and presented IQ test

results as a scientifically exact measure of fixed traits.

Tests are defined as a subset of assessment that has administrative procedures that

occur at identifiable times in a curriculum when learners “muster all their faculties to

offer peak performance, knowing that their responses are being measured and evaluated”

(Brown & Abeywickrama, 2010, p. 3). It can be inferred from this definition that the

purpose of testing is to measure the student’s knowledge and/or abilities. It is also

inferred from the outlined definition that tests are a subset of assessment.

Standardized tests are based on a set of standards—a set of carefully defined

competencies that apply to course or curriculum objectives (Cunningham, 1998;

Oosterhof, 2001; Zucker, 2003). Standardized tests have advantages as well as

disadvantages and hence are accepted and adopted by some countries and rejected by

others. The advantages include high levels of practicality and reliability, availability,

ease of administration to large groups, and validity. Disadvantages include lack of

accountability, curricular narrowing (teaching for the test), test biases, and the possibility

that indirect testing might not elicit a good sample of performance (Brown &

Abeywickrama, 2010).

Reviewed TBLT Literature showed a number of types of exams that could be

used for assessing or testing while adopting TBLT (Brown, 1991; Newton & Kennedy,
44

1996; Swain & Lapkin, 2001; Willis & Willis, 2007). These types of tests include: (a) to

test one or more of the four language skills (reading, listening, writing, speaking), (b) for

tasks done outside the classroom, (c) to assesses with marks or grades based on how well

test takers meet the overall language demands of the tasks, and (d) to assess

communicative criteria. The tests in this study belong in the first category.

Literature also presented five purposes for testing that are linked to language

learning: (a) proficiency, (b) diagnostic, (c) placement, (d) achievement, and (e) aptitude

(Brown & Abeywickrama, 2010; Willis & Willis, 2007). In this study, there are two

primary reasons for using tests: (a) to determine the students’ current level of language

proficiency (via a placement test), and (b) to measure the students’ achievement after the

application of the treatment (via an achievement test).

Placement tests. Placement tests involve such tasks as responding through oral

and written performance, open-ended and limited responses, selection, and gap-filling

formats (Brown & Abeywickrama, 2010). The primary reason for a placement tests is to

measure the students’ language proficiency level. Knowing this information helps

teachers assign or match the students to their appropriate levels. Teachers assign the

students to a level that is challenging but not too difficult.

Achievement tests. Achievement tests are summative measures of learning

abilities within a classroom lesson, unit or course (Cunningham, 1998). Achievement

tests can play a crucial formative role by offering as the achievement tests can offer

feedback about the quality of the learners’ performance in the subsets of the unit or
45

course. Achievement tests can range from five minutes to a three-hour final exam

(Brown & Abeywickrama, 2010).

Summary

This chapter extensively reviewed literature related to this study. A careful

analysis of the basic principles underlying behaviorism and constructivism showed that

the teaching practice of the control group is grounded in behaviorism, while the teaching

practice of the treatment group (TBLT) is informed by constructivism. Research in

Second Language Acquisition (SLA) began in late 1960s. The literature on TBLT shows

that tasks are supported and have roots from psycho and sociolinguistics. The reviewed

literature in this chapter identified some of the differences between Task-Based Teaching

and Task-Based Assessment and previewed research literature of TBLT. Three vital

issues in the reading literature were presented, which included reading process, reading

comprehension, and miscue analysis.

At last but not least, this chapter described Developmental Appropriate Practice

from Early Childhood, Whole Language from Literacy, and Continuous Progress from

Educational Leadership, noting the principles they shared with TBLT. At last, mixed

method research literature was reviewed with an emphasis on measurement of language

production and testing including the two types of tests used in this study (placement and

achievement).
CHAPTER III

METHODOLOGY AND DESIGN

Introduction

This chapter outlines the steps necessary to answer the following questions:

1. Is using the TBLT method for teaching English as a second language

for male, third-grade students in intermediate schools in Saudi Arabia more

effective in the acquisition of the English language, in terms of students’

achievement on reading comprehension, than using the traditional “prompting”

method?

2. What insights and issues can be gained about implementing TBLT in

this research setting?

Specifically, the chapter will focus on: (a) the selection of the subjects for the

study; where they come from and who they represent and how they were selected (b) the

research design of the study (c) the instruments that will be used for data collection (d)

the steps that will be followed for collecting the data (e) the internal validity of the study,

and (f) data analysis.

Subjects of the Study

Participants

This study targets third intermediate grades (15 year old students) in

governmental schools in Saudi Arabia. English language curriculum for the intermediate

schools in Saudi Arabia is highly standardized across the country—all follow the same

curriculum and use the same textbooks for teaching the English language. Students’ final
46
47

assessments in all subjects, including English, are based on standardized tests that are

supervised by the ministry of education and administered by the schools. Because the

processes and the tests are the same country-wide, the findings of this study are

potentially relevant for all intermediate school students and English teachers in Saudi

Arabia. Thus, although the subjects or the study are all from Buraydah, Saudi Arabia, the

targeted population is all third intermediate level students and their teachers in Saudi

Arabia. This will help to establish an acceptable level of external validity, especially

when the study is replicated in different parts of Saudi Arabia.

Students (participants). Most of the intermediate schools in Buraydah city in

Saudi Arabia have two sections (classes) at each level with approximately 25-30 students

in each class. Subjects in the study included four sections (classes) of the third grade of

the intermediate level from two governmental schools, for a total of 122 students. All

students participating in both schools are Saudis, mostly from the middle class, and share

similar characteristics in terms of socio-economic status.

Teachers (participants). Two English language teachers are included in the

study. One has taught the treatment group and the other one has taught the control group.

The treatment group teacher is the researcher since he is the most familiar with the

treatment method of instruction. The other teacher has been teaching the control group

through the use of the traditional method and who has been assigned by the school. To

control for the teacher effect on the outcome variable, a between teacher effect will be

included in the design as a factor.


48

Settings

Schools. Two intermediate governmental schools are selected from all of the

schools in Buraydah. These two schools are similar in terms of size, resources, and

location. Because, as a male, the investigator cannot have access to schools for girls, the

two schools chosen are for boys only.

Classroom settings. As the study is implemented in classrooms in schools, it is

important to ensure the similarities of both of the control and treatment groups. The

effect of the classroom setting (such as those with well-equipped laboratories with

computers and high technology as opposed to those without) is a controversial issue.

While Foster (1998) suggests that there is a difference in the amount of negotiation of

meaning between the classroom setting and the laboratory setting, in favor of the latter,

Gass, Mackey, and Ross-Feldman (2005) argue that the setting is not in itself a

significant variable in their analysis of research. To be on the safe side, this study has

involved classrooms with similar settings for both the treatment and control groups. The

time of the class (i.e., beginning, middle, or end of the day) are also similar.

Design and Method

This mixed-method study investigates the effectiveness of using the TBLT

method for teaching English as a second language to male third-grade students in the

intermediate schools in Saudi Arabia. The study is based on a mixed method design

(quantitative and qualitative) where the quantitative part includes a two-factor split-plot

analysis with a pretest (covariate) and posttests as a part of quasi-experimental design.

The qualitative part is based on observational data and a researcher log.


49

Researchers who employ quasi-experimental designs rely on various techniques

to control (or at least reduce) the threats to the internal validity of the study. In this study,

one technique is to randomly assign the classrooms to the treatment and control groups

(Wiersma & Jurs, 2009). Variables such as the students’ gender, age, and citizenship, the

time of the class, classroom settings, teaching aids, the teachers, and the school are

already being controlled for due to the design of the study or statistically in the analysis

of the study (see Figure 1).

In addition to the tests’ scores of the students for the quantitative part of the study,

the researcher collects observational data as a quality check for the fidelity of the study

and as the qualitative part of the design of this mixed method study.

Data Collection Tools

To gather data, the study uses: (a) a pretest—to document the level of students’

English language reading comprehension they have at the beginning of the study; (b)

observation of the treatment group (researcher log) and control group (classroom visits);

and (c) posttests—to evaluate particular areas of student study.

Pretest. The primary purpose of the pretest is to function as the main covariate.

It is used to provide a baseline for the students’ current English language reading

comprehension levels so this study can examine the effect of treatment, relative to initial

English language proficiency. The pretest also helps increase the power of the study by

reducing the error that can be attributed to prior differences among students and its

relation to the outcome. It is not used to place students in certain levels or groups. Two

reading passage practice tests were used and which were developed by Ohio Department
50

Weeks 9 & 10
Weeks 3 & 4

Weeks 5 & 6

Weeks 7 & 8
Weeks 1& 2

Section A

Section A

Section A

Section A

Section A
Section B

Section B

Section B

Section B

Section B
ORPA

ORPA

ORPA

ORPA

ORPA
OTET

OTET

OTET

OTET

OTET
TBLT
teaching
method
group O XE XE XE XE XE
(Treatment
group)
ORPA

ORPA

ORPA

ORPA

ORPA
OTET

OTET

OTET

OTET

OTET
Factor 1A
ORPA

ORPA

ORPA

ORPA

ORPA
OTET

OTET

OTET

OTET

OTET
Traditional
teaching
method
group
(Control O CT CT CT CT CT
group)
ORPA

ORPA

ORPA

ORPA

ORPA

ORPA
OTET

OTET

OTET

OTET
Factor 1B

O= pretest
XE= experiment (treatment) group
CT= Traditional (control) group
ORPA =observation (researcher prepared assessment posttest)
OTET =observation (textbook established posttest)
Sections A & B = both of the treatment and control groups have two sections of each.

Figure 1 Quasi-Experimental Design


51

of Education as the pretest in this study (See Appendix G). There are two reasons that

justify the choice of this particular test; one is that this reading test has met the criteria of

validity and reliability (Moore, 2008). The second reason is that this reading test is the

most appropriate placement test as it specifically designed to measure the reading

comprehension of the students and, hence, is compatible with the posttest (both of pre

and post tests measure students’ reading comprehension). Based on the identified

characteristics of the participating students (age, English language level), those two

reading passages are appropriate. The two reading passages have a total of 22 questions

that measure reading comprehension. Test scores are going to be based on a retelling

rubric2.

Observation. This study places great emphasis on this data collection tool and is

aware that field notes gathered are going to represent the eyes, ears, and the perceptual

senses of the reader (Patton, 2002). The form and notes provides insights and issues

about implementing both of the TBLT and traditional methods in the control and

treatment groups in this research setting. Observational data are accurate, detailed, and

rich in nature (Schram, 2006). Among the techniques used when taking field notes is the

usage of direct quotes, paraphrases, description of the context, and description of any

behavioral experience that take place in the classroom (Schneider, 2005).

Observation of the control group. The treatment teacher (researcher) conducts

ten visits to observe the control group. These observations provide data for the study,

and help determine fidelity of the study. Two types of notes during these visits are used.

2 More details about the retelling rubric are provided under posttests.
52

In the first, a checklist is filled out and which is designed to give insights about the

engagement of the students and teacher in the lesson and the flow of instruction (see

Figure 2). In the second, open handwritten notes are gathered for collecting data that are

not covered by the first type of observational data. When observing the control group,

the observer does not interact with the teacher or students during the observation, make

any actions, or bring anything into the classroom other than a pen and a note pad. If the

observer has any questions, he is to talk to the teacher after the end of the class session.

Observation of the treatment group. A colleague who is also knowledgeable of

TBLT observes the treatment teacher (researcher) while teaching the treatment group via

the TBLT method. This observer has several years of experience in English language

teaching as an English language teacher. He has also had studied advanced courses in

English language teaching methodology, teaching skills, curriculum and Instruction, and

most importantly is familiar with the TBLT method.

Roles and duties of the observer while observing the treatment group are typical

to those adopted by the researcher when observing the control group. For clarification

purposes, two types of notes during these visits are used. In the first, a checklist is filled

out and which is designed to give insights about the engagement of the students and

teacher in the lesson and the flow of instruction (see Figure 2). In the second, open

handwritten notes are gathered for collecting data that are not covered by the first type of

observational data. When observing the TBLT group, the observer does not interact with

the treatment teacher or students during the observation, make any actions, or bring

anything into the classroom other than a pen and a note pad. If the observer has any
53

questions, he is instructed to talk to the teacher after the end of the class session.

Analyzing collected data about both of the control and the treatment groups is carried out

by both of the treatment teacher (researcher) and the observer, as explained with more

details under Chapter IV., through comparison and contrast between the two sets of

observational data.

Response
Elements Yes No N/A Comments
Setting the stage
Task sequence
Engaging the students
Running the task
Task completion
Students’ attitudes
Teacher’s attitude
Difficulties
Advantages
Disadvantages

Figure 2. Classroom Observation Checklist


54

Researcher log. As the researcher is doing the teaching part for the treatment

group using the TBLT, he cannot take notes (observed data) while he is teaching though

he might observe valuable data. Hence, the treatment teacher (researcher) creates a log

where he writes down notes as he recalls them by the end of each day he teaches the

treatment group (McNiff, Lomax, & Whitehead, 1996). Those notes include insights and

issues about implementing TBLT in this research setting. Out of the numerous visits of

writing to researcher log, data can be described by being rich, detailed, and accurate

(Schram, 2006).

Recalled data in researcher log can take the form of direct quotes, paraphrased

responses, conversations, description of the context, and description of any behavioral

experience that take place in the classroom (Schneider, 2005). When logging into

researcher log by the end of each day, recalled data would be related to three types of

interactions that take place in classrooms: student-to-student (such as group work or pair

activities), student-to-teacher interaction (such as instruction by the teacher or questions

and participation by the students), and students-to-curricular materials (such as textbooks

and workbooks).

Posttests. Posttests are administered at the end of each two weeks to assess

students’ reading comprehension on the content covered in those two weeks. This

process continues for ten weeks, which is the duration of the study. Each posttest

consists of two formats; one is the researcher’s prepared assessment (RPA) and the other

one is the text established test (TET) and which students need to do it all in English. The

RPA posttest is mainly retelling where the students read a passage and then are asked to
55

retell the passage using on their own words as they have understood it. Only on this

retelling question, students are allowed to retell in their first language (Arabic) so as to

reflect the level of their comprehension. The retelling question/s is designed in a way

that a) measures the students’ reading comprehension, b) imitates real life experiences,

and c) open ended questions (See Appendix H).

Subjects in both of the treatment and control groups are tested with both formats

each time they have the posttest. This study has opted to adopt two formats of the

posttests for two reasons; one is to correlate the RPA posttest with the TET one and

which can, accordingly, establish concurrent validity. The second reason is that the

researcher and a group of experts in literacy believe that the RPA can be a more accurate

instrument for measuring the students’ reading comprehension. The order of the two

formats in each posttest is administered interchangeably during the duration of the study

to control for order effects that might bias responses on either instrument.

The questions on the RPA posttest are prepared by the researcher on the reading

content covered during the application of the study. Hence, the RPA format is created

when the reading content is determined. To maintain an acceptable level of content

validity of the RPA format, it is evaluated before using it by a group of experts in

literacy. RPA scores are based on a retelling rubric provided under Figure 3. The second

posttest format, text established test (TET), is an existing instrument provided by the

curriculum. This test is also on the covered content through the duration of the study

(See Appendix H for posttests). This study assumes that the psychometric properties of

this instrument have already been established by the curriculum designer. Both (RPA &
56

TET) provide the necessary assessment of student reading comprehension after

introducing the treatment type (TBLT vs. Traditional).

Retelling rubric. Test scores of both the pretest and posttests are based on a

retelling rubric originally designed by Applegate, Quinn, and Applegate (2008) and

which is shown in Figure 3. The retelling rubric consists of nine grading levels ranging

from zero to four where four represents the highest grading score and zero represents the

lowest one. The grading level starts with four points and decreases by half of a point

with each lower grade until it reaches zero as explained in the following.

A comprehensive retelling includes all information of the passage and a well-

supported personal response is graded with four points. Three and a half points is the

grade for an exceptionally strong retelling that omits a small but significant part of the

information but still includes a well-supported personal response. A very strong retelling

that includes all information, but does not include a personal response is graded with

three points. Two and a half points is the grade for a strong retelling that includes many

pieces of information in a variety of combinations and may include a personal response; a

reader who achieves this score has clearly comprehended the primary gist of the text. A

solid retelling that includes most information but that is also characterized by some key

omissions and that may include a personal response receives a grade of two points. One

and a half points is the grade for a fairly weak retelling that includes some information

but also omits a good deal of key information and may contain some factual distortions

and that may include a personal response. A weak retelling that includes little

information but is also characterized by some glaring omissions and factual distortions
57

and that does not include a personal response is graded with only one point. At last but

not least, half of a point is the grade for a very weak retelling that includes little

disjointed information and factual distortion and that does not include a personal

response. At last, a retelling that may include nothing more than a vague idea of the topic

of the text and that does not include a personal response receives a grade of zero.

Score Description
4.0 A virtually perfect retelling that includes all information and a well-
supported personal response

3.5 An exceptionally strong retelling that omits a small but significant part of the
information but still includes a well-supported personal response

3.0 A very strong retelling that includes all information, but does not include a
personal response

2.5 A strong retelling that includes many pieces of information in a variety of


combinations and may include a personal response; a reader who achieves
this score has clearly comprehended the primary gist of the text

2.0 A solid retelling that includes most information but that is also characterized
by some key omissions and that may include a personal response

1.5 A fairly weak retelling that includes some information but also omits a good
deal of key information and may contain some factual distortions and that
may include a personal response

1.0 A weak retelling that includes little information but is also characterized by
some glaring omissions and factual distortions and that does not include a
personal response

.5 A very weak retelling that includes little disjointed information and factual
distortion and that does not include a personal response

.0 A retelling that may include nothing more than a vague idea of the topic of
the text and that does not include a personal response

Figure 3 Retelling Rubric


58

Procedural Details

Treatment. As described in chapter one, TBLT is a method of language

instruction that uses a problem-solving approach to meaningful, real world tasks. In this

method, priority is placed on task completion and tasks are assessed according to

outcome (Brown, 2007; Willis & Willis, 2007). Students pass through three stages in a

TBLT lesson: (a) groups of students engage in real life situations that are similar to the

task they are going to perform in the classroom (pre-task stage), (b) groups of students do

the intended goal or task of the lesson (running the task stage), and (c) groups of students

display or provide an indicator that they have successfully completed the task for the

purposes of assessment and evaluation (task completion stage) (See Appendix K for

lesson plans implemented in this study). The following provides a vignette on TBLT and

a TBLT lesson plan sample as presented in Figure 4.

Treatment vignette: The case of Ali. The following shows how Ali, an English

language teacher of third grade in intermediate school in Saudi Arabia, has implemented

TBLT method while teaching English as a second language for the students. The

emphasis in that class was on the reading skill (particularly reading comprehension). The

reading passage in that lesson was about the Advantages and Disadvantages of Watching

TV.

As Ali entered the classroom, he and the students rearranged tables and chairs to

form circles for groups that suite from three to four students. When the students joined

their groups, Ali aimed first at engaging the students in the reading topic of the lesson

(pre-task stage). To do this, groups of students were involved in an activity to do an


59

opinion survey that contained ten statements. Those statements represented different

point of views about watching TV. For each statement, groups of students were to select

either “Strongly Agree,” “Agree,” “Neutral,” or “Disagree”) and justify their choice.

Students spent fifteen minutes to complete the survey, discuss it, and justify their

opinions in their groups. The students were highly interested in the topic; when they had

completed the survey, each group enthusiastically reported and justified their opinions to

the other groups.

The students then moved to a reading task (running the task). Ali told them that

they were going to read an opinion about the advantages and disadvantages of watching

TV and do a retelling for the passage they had read. Groups of students were provided

with sheets of paper to restate or retell the author’s opinion on their own words followed

by their opinions whether they agreed or did not agree with author justifying their

decisions. The teacher explained few new vocabularies existing in the author’s opinion.

Groups of students spent fifteen minutes to complete this task. After groups of students

had finished reading, they took turns to share their retellings and their opinions (task

completion). Each group of students was strongly engaged as they were sharing with

their teacher and other groups their opinions.

At the end of class, Ali gave the students instructions for that night’s homework,

which was to create two lists of words—one with words that were likely to be found in

opinions about the advantages of watching TV, and the second, with words about the

disadvantages.
60

Subject: English / Grade: 3rd I. Class / Duration: 45 min. / Topic: Eiffel Tower
The aim or main goal of the lesson: Pupils are expected by the end of the lesson to comprehend a reading passage
about Eiffel Tower.
Indicators for pupils’
achievement of the main
Task Sequence Materials &
Content goal of the lesson
(Procedures) Equipment
(Application &
Assessment)
Task engagement Throughout the lesson, Tables and Students show interests
Together the teacher and the students are groups are going to suggest chairs are when engaging in the
going to rearrange tables and chairs to landmarks and label the formed into lesson topic.
form circles for groups of three to four pictures of some famous circles for
students. landmarks around the world groups. Groups enthusiastically
with their countries such as compete in suggesting
For 3 min, the teacher introduces the Pyramids in Egypt, Petra in Pupil’s and labeling the pictures
topic of the lesson (what they are going Jordon, Liberty Status in the textbook of famous landmarks
to do). United States, Saleh’s (it has the within their countries
Cities in Saudi Arabia. passage and others.
Students involve in a group about Eiffel
(competition) discussion for suggesting Students are going to read a Tower). Students complete
landmarks for their families to visit for passage about Eiffel Tower reading the passage and
10 min. The winning group is a) the in the pupil’s textbook on Sheets for discuss in groups the
first one that manages to correctly label pages 39-40. groups’ basic details or
names of countries to the provided work. information about Eiffel
pictures of famous landmarks around the Through the reading Tower.
world b) suggest landmarks other than passage, students are going PowerPoint
presented for their families. to get introduced to the slides Teacher passes around
following new words: groups of students to
Running the task tower, popular, tourist, Pens or evaluate whether or not
The teacher instructs students to begin festival. pencils. the students have
reading the provided passage about accomplished the task
Eiffel Tower for 5-8 min. of comprehending the
Students are then to discuss on their reading passage through
groups some of the basic information telling their families
they learned about Eiffel Tower (such as about the tower in their
(height, location, dates of construction) own words in written
for 5-10 min. and/or oral format.

Task Completion
The teacher asks groups to imagine that
they decided to suggest Eiffel Tower for
their families to visit and their task is to
tell their families as much as they could
about the tower on a sheet of paper in
their own words for 10-15 min.

Figure 4. TBLT Lesson Plan Sample


61

Control. The 56 students in the control group receive traditional instruction.

As noted in Chapter I, this way of instruction is referred to as prompting and involves

having students work independently and passively. The following provides a vignette on

the traditional method.

Control vignette: The case of Khalid. Khalid is a third-grade English language

teacher in an intermediate school in Saudi Arabia; he teaches English as a second

language to his students. The emphasis of that class was on reading comprehension and

the lesson’s reading passage was about Great Little Inventions.

As Khalid entered the classroom, students were seated in rows at their individual

tables. Khalid began writing on the board the topic of the lesson he was going to teach

the students. He told them that they were going to deal with an important and an

interesting topic about great little inventions. He said that he expected them to remain

quiet and concentrate on the reading topic. Then, he instructed them to open their

textbooks to the reading passage and carefully follow along as he read. When Khalid

came across a word that he thought the students might not understand, he would raise his

head and ask the students, “Do you know the meaning of this word?” Sometimes they

responded “yes we do” and other times “no, we do not,” but most of the time they

remained silent. Khalid read the passage three times, while explaining the meaning of

certain words; this took about twenty minutes. The students’ reaction or attitude towards

the lesson varied. Three of the twenty students were concentrating and responding to the

Ali and ten were talking to each other quietly so Khalid would not hear them. The rest of

the students were busy doing things that were unrelated to the lesson at hand. Khalid
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then asked the students whether they had understood the passage or not and if anyone had

questions. When there was no response, Khalid exclaimed, “That is great.” For the next

fifteen minutes, five different students took turns reading the passage in a loud voice

while their classmates were supposed to follow along. For the rest of the class, Khalid

and the students did the exercises or activities provided by the book. Khalid read the

exercise question and asked if anyone could do it. When a student knew the answer and

did it right, Khalid praised the student for being good, “unlike his classmates,” and said

that he would add a bonus to that student’s score record. When none of the students

knew the answer, Khalid gave it to them or wrote it on the board and the students copied

it into their notebooks. At the end of the class, Khalid explained that, for homework, the

students were to complete the remaining exercises for the reading passage and that, if

they did not do so correctly, they would lose the score specified for that homework.

Permissions and Regulations

There are a number of permissions and regulations that the researcher is required

to have for the application of the study. Those permissions and regulations include:

Approval of the proposal by the committee members after obtaining

permission for the use of human subjects from Institutional Review Board

(See Appendix A);

Upon arrival in Saudi Arabia, permission from the educational directorate of

Qassim, Buraydah, which is handled through correspondence between Qassim

University and the directorate (See Appendix B);


63

Permission and facilitation by the researcher’s sponsor in Saudi Arabia

(Qassim University) (See Appendix C), which is handled through

correspondence with the Saudi Cultural Mission in the United States, to allow

the researcher to enroll in a “Research Trip” to Saudi Arabia;

Permissions from the two schools that are involved in the study (See

Appendix D), and which includes permissions from:

- the principals of the two schools,

- the English language teachers in the two schools, and

- the parents of the students to have their children (to obtain this, the

researcher has prepared a consent form for the parents to complete)

participate in the study (See Appendix M).

During and after the research trip, the researcher is to contact his committee

members for advice and update them about his progress. At the end of the study, Qassim

University issues a letter about what the researcher did during the research trip and how

long it took.

This study needs four weeks to obtain the above permissions. The study starts at

the beginning of the school year on Saturday3 Jan. 19, 2013 and end on Wednesday Mar.

27, 2013. The first week of the study is used for setting the stage and administering the

pretest on the students. The treatment lasts for ten weeks. At the end of every two

weeks, this study involves administering the two formats of the posttest. To ensure

3School days in Saudi Arabia are Saturday through Wednesday; weekend days are
Thursday and Friday.
64

fidelity of treatment (i.e., teaching with the TBLT method), the researcher administers the

treatment part of the study (teaching with TBLT) as well as monitors the control group

teacher (who teaches through the traditional method).

The study is administered by the researcher (as the data collector and the

treatment teacher) who is subjected to the following regulations:

Obtain the required permissions for the conduction of the study;

Teaches the treatment group through the TBLT method of teaching.

Provide a “road map” for the study;

Distribute tasks;

Logs into the researcher log by the end of each day he teaches the treatment

group and jot down the notes based on recalling.

Conduct 8 observational visits to the control group.

With the control group English language teacher, administer and grade the pre

and post tests;

Host regular meetings with the control group teacher, to discuss any

difficulties or problems;

Be available for consultation or problems; and

Analyze the results of the study.

The control group English language teacher is expected to:

Follow the instructions of the researcher;

Do the teaching part as outlined by the study for the control group;
65

With the researcher, administer the pre and post tests;

Together with the researcher, grade the pre and post tests; and

Ask for advice from the researcher for any problem or difficulty he might

encounter.

Internal Validity

To establish internal validity, the relationship observed between two or more

variables should be unambiguous and not attributable to something else (Fraenkel,

Wallen, & Hyun, 2012). Many of the possible threats to the internal validity of the study

are controlled by its design. However, there are a few other threats to internal validity,

including:

 subject characteristics (i.e. individual differences);

 location;

 data collector characteristics and bias;

 attitude of the subjects;

 implementation;

 test threat; and

 maturation.

To reduce or eliminate such threats, this study takes steps to maintain internal

validity—for example; the subjects’ characteristics are captured and controlled through

the pretest, which provides a base line to eliminate the threat of subjects’ characteristics

to the internal validity.


66

The effect of the study’s location is minimized by selecting two schools that share

similar characteristics and are from the most common neighborhoods of the city. Similar

conditions and environments are created for both treatment and control groups to help

reduce this threat to the internal validity of the study.

Because the study is relatively small, data collection bias is expected to be

minimal and at its lowest level. Data collection bias is reduced greatly by a number of

factors, including the extensive description of instrumentation, sample selection,

procedural details, and multiple data sources. For instance, as discussed under “Data

Collection Tools,” there are three processes that should ensure unbiased data collection:

(a) data collection is done through multiple collectors (visions) rather than a solo vision

(the control group teacher, the checker, and the researcher), (b) the design of the study

greatly participates in eliminating the data collection bias by providing two groups for the

treatment and two groups for the control, (c) the researcher teaches students in the

treatment group using the TBLT method and another teacher teaches the students in the

control group using the traditional method. The four instruments of data collection (pre,

post tests, observation, researcher log) are administered in a controlled environment with

supervision of the researcher.

The adoption of pre and post tests also helps eliminate bias that is attributed to the

pre- existing differences among the students. The pre test shows the levels of language

proficiency of the students before they receive the treatment, otherwise, an increase or

decrease in the students’ achievement scores on reading comprehension might be

attributed to individual differences among the students. Supervision of the instruments


67

by the researcher helps reduce the test administration bias. Administering and grading

the pre and post tests by the researcher and the control group teacher eliminates the

researcher’s bias when analyzing the results. The researcher’s doing the teaching part for

the treatment group and observation of the control group ensure the fidelity of the study

and offer insights and issues that the pre and post tests cannot provide about

implementing TBLT in this research setting.

The lengthy description of procedural details ensures the validity of the study.

For example, the sample selection (four groups of students from two schools and two

English language teachers) follows strict criteria to maintain unbiased data. The selection

of the two schools is done by the researcher and the school district of Buraydah pursuant

to the criteria set forth in this proposal under “Procedural Details.” Complying with the

required permissions and regulations includes monitoring from the researcher’s sponsor

(Qassim University) and the School District of Buraydah.

The implementation of the study as described above follows certain procedural

steps and certain tools for instrumentation. To ensure internal validity when

implementing the study, the treatment group is taught by the researcher, as he is the most

familiar with the treatment method of instruction and the only one who can teach with

this new method. During the implementation of the study, the treatment teacher

(researcher) works closely with the control group teacher and monitors his instruction

through regular visits and meetings hosted by the treatment teacher outside of school.

The treatment and the control teachers work together as a team to administer and grade

the pre and post tests. For tests threat effect, this study is controlling this threat by using
68

different pretest form from the posttest forms, which will assess different content. The

posttest is about the unit/s the students have studied or covered while receiving the

treatment; the pretest, as previously mentioned, measures the students’ reading

comprehension in the English language before they receive the treatment.

Maturation threat to internal validity is at its lowest levels and that is due to the

duration of the study (ten weeks) is short enough to not to see any maturation over time

on the one hand and the fact that the design of the study involves testing students every

two weeks controls for or extremely minimizes the threat of maturation on the other.

Sharing between the treatment and control groups is also minimized by the design of the

study since it involves two schools in different but similar neighborhoods. This means

that students from the treatment (school) most likely do not interact with students from

the control (school). Attitudes of the subjects, often defined by Hawthorne effect can be

reduced by acknowledging all the students and their participation in the study without

identifying their group membership. All students in the treatment group (who are

participating in the experiment) and the control group (who are taught through the regular

or traditional method) have the same pre and post tests, and all students provide the

researcher with permission from their parents to participate in the study.

Data Analysis

To answer the two research questions for this study, data are collected from three

sources: a pretest, posttests, and through observation (see Table 1).


69

Table 1. Data Analysis

Pretest Observation Posttest


Research Questions (Placement
Test) Researcher Classroom RPA
TET
Log Visits (Retelling)

Q 1: Is using the TBLT method for


teaching English as a second
language for male, third-grade
students in intermediate schools in
Saudi Arabia more effective in the
* * *
acquisition of the English
language, in terms of students’
achievement on reading
comprehension, than using the
traditional “prompting” method?

Q 2: What insights and issues can


be gained about implementing * *
TBLT in this research setting?

Analysis of Pre and Post Test Scores

Analysis involves entering the collected pre and post tests data into an SPSS data

file with multiple accuracy checks. Analysis will also provide descriptive statistics, such

as frequency tables, means, and standard deviations for all the variables in the study. The

descriptive statistics helps identify any abnormalities in the collected data, such as

missing values and outliers and help assess some of the assumptions needed for testing

hypotheses related to the first research question.

As a primary tool to analyze the data for this study, a Two-Factor Split Plot

ANOVA with a covariate involves one between subjects factor (Teaching method) and

one within subjects factor; the repeated measure of the subjects five times over the
70

duration of the study (more details about the Two-Factor Split Plot are discussed under

Chapter IV). Using the pretest as a covariate in the analysis properly provides two

benefits (Howell, 2002). The first is to control for the effects of the students’ prior

knowledge of the English language reading comprehension and which could be related to

the outcome variable. This control helps level the ground for the two groups we are

trying to compare by eliminating the pre-existing effects of such covariates on the

outcome variable before comparing the effectiveness of the treatment group to the control

group. This process helps boost the internal validity of the study by eliminating some

feasible alternatives to the results. The second benefit is to achieve higher power when

comparing the treatment and control groups. Introducing the pre test as a covariate to the

model helps explain some of the inconsistencies in the outcome variable that otherwise

summed under the error variance. Thus, reducing the error variance leads to a more

powerful test of the intended null hypothesis.

To address the research question stated earlier in the chapter, the analysis will test

the following:

The null hypothesis: There is no overall significant difference in students’

achievement between the TBLT teaching method of the English language and

the traditional teaching method.

The alternative hypothesis: There are significant differences between the

TBLT method in teaching English compared to the traditional method, with

higher means demonstrated by the TBLT method.


71

In addition to the above main hypothesis, the following are also tested:

The null hypothesis: there is no interaction effect between treatment type and

the repeated measures across time.

The alternative hypothesis: There is an interaction effect between the

treatment type and the repeated measures across time.

Where i is equal to 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 teaching units defined by two weeks period.

The above hypotheses are tested with a probability of controlling type one error

(alpha level of significance) at .05. Previous research such as Gass, Mackey, and Ross-

Feldman (2005) have shown that the chosen alpha level of significance (.05) with the

given sample size and study design, provides an acceptable level of power.

Analysis of Observational Data and Researcher Log Data

Enormous amount of field notes emerges from classroom observation and

researcher log. Hence, data analysis of observational data gathered from classroom

observations (from the control group) and from researcher log (from the treatment group)

includes categorization, description, and synthesis. This process of data reduction is vital

for the description and interpretation of the phenomenon under study (Wiersma & Jurs,

2009). Analysis will first involve making a base on repetitions or themes across the data.

This process of organization should reduce the data and is often described as coding
72

(Wiersma & Jurs, 2009). Analysis then involves a description of the categories using

little technical language. Both observational data from classroom visits and from

researcher log are presented to a peer to read and get his thoughts and impressions about

the observed data. To retain the confidentiality of the schools and participants,

participants are anonymous and data are reported collectively. Results or interpretation of

data are presented with thick description that strives to make meaning and interprets how

participants (teachers and students) behave during the application of the study. To ensure

the validity of the findings of the data collected via observation, this study presents a

detailed description of the observation visits.

Limitations of the Study

As the scope of this dissertation does not allow for a comprehensive and in-depth

analysis of the targeted curriculum, this study, though they are considered among the

most crucial components, does not and will not assume that instructional practices and

methods of English language teaching are, by themselves, the only reason for the

dissatisfaction with English language teaching and learning in Saudi public schools.

However, for research purposes, this study focuses on examining the effectiveness of

TBLT on students’ achievement in reading comprehension. Another limitation is that

this study involves a constructivist practice (TBLT) that is applied to an existing highly

standardized curriculum established by an outside organization. Also, implementing the

TBLT method by the researcher can contaminate the true effects of the TBLT method.

At last but not least, the sample selection limits the generalization of the findings to only

schools similar in nature to those used in the study. At last, comprehensive change in the
73

targeted curriculum needs to take its course; hopefully, this study leads to a transitional

phase—away from highly standardized curriculum and towards a more constructivist best

practice curriculum.

Summary

This study addresses two questions:

1. Is using the TBLT method for teaching English as a second language for male

third-grade students in intermediate schools in Saudi Arabia more effective in the

acquisition of the English language, in terms of students’ achievement on reading

comprehension, than using the traditional “prompting” method?

2. What insights and issues can be gained about implementing TBLT in this research

setting?

To answer the research questions, the study examines the implementation of

TBLT in two intermediate schools in Saudi Arabia. The study compares the treatment

group to the control group on the outcome after controlling for the students’ pre-existing

knowledge of the English language as a covariate. One hundred and twenty-two

students, the investigator as the treatment group teacher, and an English language teacher

for the control group participates in this study. This study has a mixed-design design

(quantitative and qualitative) where quasi-experimental analysis with pre and post tests

represent the quantitative part and synthesis of observational data represent the

qualitative part. The treatment is the application of the TBLT method through a time

frame of ten weeks. The regulation and permission procedures include dissertation

committee members’ approval for the study and a number of permissions from the IRB at
74

Kent State University, the sponsoring agency (Qassim University), the host of the study,

and participants and their parents in the study. Quantitative data are analyzed through

using a Two-Factor Split Plot analysis; qualitative data are analyzed through

categorizing, describing, and synthesizing the observed insights.


CHAPTER IV

ANALYSIS AND RESULTS

Introduction

This chapter presents the results of the analyses adopted to answer the following

two major research questions of the study.

1 Is using the TBLT method for teaching English as a second language for male,

third-grade students in intermediate schools in Saudi Arabia more effective in the

acquisition of the English language, in terms of students’ achievement on reading

comprehension, than using the traditional “prompting” method?

2. What insights and issues can be gained about implementing TBLT in this research

setting?

A mixed-method analysis (Quantitative and Qualitative) is used to address the

two research questions above. Three major sections will cover the discussion of the

findings. The first section will cover the results of the quantitative analysis for the

first research question. The second section will present the findings from the

observed data that address the second question. The third section will integrate the

findings from both of the first and second sections to give a complete picture of the

findings of the study.

75
76

Results of the Quantitative Analysis

of the First Research Question

1. Is using the TBLT method for teaching English as a second language for male,

third-grade students in intermediate schools in Saudi Arabia more effective in the

acquisition of the English language, in terms of students’ achievement on reading

comprehension, than using the traditional “prompting” method?

Nature of Quantitative Data

The statistical analysis needed to address this research question was the Two-

Factor Spilt-Plot design. The Two-Factor Spilt-Plot design is often called a mixed design

and that is due to the combination of the characteristics of the One-Factor Repeated

Measures and the Two-Factor Fixed-Effects models (Lomax, 2007). In this study the

repeated measures (within-subject factor) is the posttest and the treatment (i.e., TBLT and

Traditional teaching method) represents the between-subject factor (see Figure 1).

Variables included in the design are:

1- Pretest measure of students’ initial level of the English language reading

comprehension. This measure is used as the covariate in the design to help

control for students’ differences in their initial knowledge of the English

language. The covariate will also increase the power of the analysis by explaining

some of the variability in the posttests scores that is attributed to differences in

students’ initial level of the English language rather than the TBLT treatment

effect.
77

2- Treatment factor with two groups. The treatment group consists of students

taught the English language with emphasis on reading comprehension through

using the TBLT method. The control group consists of students taught the

English language with emphasis on reading comprehension through using the

traditional method. The treatment factor is the between-subjects factor in the

design.

3- Each student will be tested over time using five sets of posttests measures

administered two weeks apart after introducing the two treatments (teaching with

TBLT and traditional methods). Each set of the tests consists of one standardized

test and one researcher-prepared assessment. Both tests are intended to measure

students’ reading comprehension in the materials covered during the preceding

two weeks. Standardized posttests are the traditional tests used in all the

intermediate schools in Saudi Arabia. To accommodate the use of the TBLT

teaching method of the English language, this study recognizes the need to

develop another test (researcher-prepared assessment) to assure a valid

assessment of students reading comprehension. The multiple posttests over time

represent the within-subject factor of the design.

Pretest summary statistics. The average score on the pretest for all the 122

students who took the test was 19.885 with minimum and maximum scores of 11.00 and

30.00 respectively. The standard deviation for the pretest scores was 4.03. Table 2

presents summary statistics for the pretest broken down by the two groups of the

treatment.
78

Table 2. Pretest Summary Statistics

Treatment Groups n M SD
TBLT Group 66 19.561 4.218
Control Group 56 20.268 3.802
Note: TBLT= Task-Based Language Teaching

An independent t-test was conducted to answer the question, “Is there a

significant difference in the pretest score between the TBLT and the traditional teaching

methods groups?” There was no statistically significant differences, (t (120) = -.965, p=

.336) between students taught by the TBLT method and students taught by the traditional

method of teaching on their pretest score suggesting that the two groups’ initial

proficiency of the English reading comprehension before administering the treatment is

about the same.

Posttests summary statistics. There are five sets of posttests. Each set consists

of a standardized test and a researcher-prepared assessment. Each set designed to

measure students’ level of learning the English language material covered in the segment

preceding the tests. Standardized posttests were developed and being used to assess

students’ achievement of the reading passages before the introduction of the TBLT

teaching method. To have a comprehensive assessment of students’ reading

comprehension, whether they were taught with TBLT method or the traditional method,

the researcher prepared posttests that help complement standardized posttest in the

assessment of students’ reading comprehension.

All five standardized posttests have a scale that ranges from zero to eight. The

other five researcher-prepared assessment posttests are measured on a scale ranges from
79

zero to four. Table 3 provides summary statistics for the five standardized posttests

broken down by the two treatment groups.

Table 3. Standardized Posttests Summary Statistics

Treatment Groups Posttest 1 Posttest 2 Posttest 3 Posttest 4 Posttest 5


TBLT M 7.035 5.246 6.632 5.719 7.070
Group
(n = 57) SD .906 1.675 1.046 1.998 1.226
Control M 1.128 1.904 5.617 1.723 3.298
Group
(n = 47) SD 1.498 1.421 1.739 1.470 1.559
Note. TBLT= Task-Based Language Teaching

Table 3 shows that there are pronounced differences between TBLT and control

groups across all the five posttests measures, with the exception of the third posttest. The

largest difference, (MTBLT – MControl = 5.907) between the two groups was on the first

posttest. The smallest difference (MTBLT – MControl = 1.015) between the two groups was

on the third posttest.

Summary statistics for the five researcher-prepared posttests broken down by the

two treatment groups are presented in Table 4. Similar to standardized posttests there

are sizable differences between the TBLT and control groups on the five researcher-

prepared posttests with the exception of the third posttest. The largest difference (MTBLT

– MControl = 1.014) between the two groups was on the fourth posttest. The smallest

difference (MTBLT – MControl = - 0.119) between the two groups was on the third posttest.
80

Table 4. Researcher-Prepared Posttests Summary Statistics

Treatment Group Posttest 1 Posttest 2 Posttest 3 Posttest 4 Posttest 5


TBLT M 2.228 2.667 2.360 3.237 3.239
Group
(n = 57) SD 1.161 .970 1.125 .808 .872
Control M 1.745 1.692 2.479 2.223 2.117
Group
(n = 47) SD 1.117 1.337 1.402 1.250 1.134
Note. TBLT= Task-Based Language Teaching

Results for treatment effect. Treatment effect makes up the major part of the

quantitative analysis of this study in addressing the first general question. The adopted

Split-Plot design for this analysis allows for answering several sub-questions that

collectively address the general research question. These sub questions are.

1- Does the pretest have a significant effect across all the five posttests? If so, does

this effect vary across the different posttests?

Having the pretest in the design helps remove some of the variability in the

posttests that can be attributed to the pretest, reduce the error term in the design, and,

thus, increase the power of the analysis. Answering this question helps in examining the

effect of the pretest on the posttests and in assessing its contribution to the model before

examining the main effect of the treatment. It furthers examine whether or not the effect

of the pretest on the posttests varies across the five posttests.


81

2- Is there a significant treatment effect across all the five posttests after controlling

for the pretest? If so, does the treatment effect on the posttests vary across the

different posttests?

The first part of the second question simply examines the difference between the

two groups (TBLT versus traditional teaching methods) on all the posttests

simultaneously. The second part of the question helps us examine if the differences

between the two groups (TBLT versus traditional teaching methods) varies across the

five different posttests. That is simply checking the interaction between the two levels of

the treatment and the five posttests.

3- Are there significant differences across the posttests? If so, do these differences

constitute a specific pattern?

The third question investigates the differences among the posttests. Further, it

looks into whether these differences fit a specific trend.

The above sub-questions will be addressed a couple of times. Once when

standardized posttests were used to assess students’ reading comprehension and another

time when researcher-prepared posttests were used as an outcome.

Standardized posttests results. A mixed Split-Plot design with one between-

groups (TBLT teaching method versus traditional teaching method) factor and one

within-subjects (standardized posttest1 to posttest5) factor plus a pretest was adopted to

answer the three sub-questions above. A check of the required assumptions for the

analysis revealed that the assumption of Sphericity was violated where Mauchly’s test of

Sphericity was statistically significant ( 2(9) = 34.464, p= .000). Violating the


82

assumption of Sphericity can lead to invalid F-tests ratio, which can result in a loss of

power (Lomax, 2007). Several corrections have been proposed, most notably the

Greenhouse-Geisser, Huynh-Feldt epsilon and Greenhouse-Geisser lower-bound estimate

corrections. These do not affect the computed F-statistic, but instead raise the critical F

value needed to reject the null hypothesis by adjusting the degrees of freedom.

Greenhouse-Geisser F-test adjusted is reported with the adjusted degrees of freedom for

any within-subject effect test that is tested.

Pretest effect. A between-subjects test for the pretest (F (1, 101) = 25.260,

p=.000) revealed that there is a significant effect of the pretest across the five posttests
2
with a large effect size (partial = .200). From this test, we can infer that having the

pretest in the model contributed significantly to the model and any derived conclusion

from the treatment effect is adjusted for this significant contribution of the pretest.

Further look at the within-subjects test for examining whether the effect of the

pretest varies significantly across the five posttests, (F (3.411, 344.509) = 2.269, p=.072)

revealed no statistical significant for this variation. This test infers that the pretest effect

on the posttests does not vary significantly across the five posttests. Both of the between

and within-subjects tests indicate that the pretest effect on the posttests is invariant across

the five posttests.

Treatment effect. The between-subjects test for examining the treatment effect

indicates that there is a significant treatment effect on the posttests scores (F (1,101) =

518.311, p= .000) with a relatively large effect size ( 2= .837). Students taught with
83

TBLT method on average scored (M=6.373, SE=0.108) higher across the posttests than

students taught with the traditional teaching method (M=2.694, SE= .119).

Looking at the treatment effect within the five standardized posttests (within-

subjects effect) showed a significant interaction with the five posttests (F (3.411,

344.509) = 45.701, p= .000) with a large effect size ( 2= .312). Based on the estimated

model Table 5 shows that the largest difference between TBLT (M = 7.050, SE = .160)

and control (M = 1.110, SE = .176) groups occurred on the first standardized posttest.

The smallest difference was found on the third posttest where TBLT students (M = 6.667,

SE = .178) on average scored a bit higher than control group students (M = 5.574, SE =

.196).

Table 5. Standardized Posttests Estimated Means and Their Standard Errors

Treatment groups Posttest 1 Posttest 2 Posttest 3 Posttest 4 Posttest 5


TBLT M 7.050 5.285 6.667 5.774 7.091
(n = 57) SE .160 .198 .178 .220 .182
Control M 1.110 1.856 5.574 1.657 3.372
(n = 47) SE .176 .218 .196 .242 .200
Note. TBLT= Task-Based Language Teaching
84

Figure 5 depicts the estimated means in Table 5. The graph shows that TBLT

students, on average, performed better than control group students on all the five posttests

with varying degrees.

Figure 5. Estimated Means of Standardized Posttests for TBLT and Control Groups

Posttest effect. One aspect of the analysis is examining the pattern of the

differences among the posttests regardless of the group (TBLT vs. control) membership.

The within-subjects effect for testing the differences between the five posttests is

statistically significant (F (3.411, 344.509)= 6.252, p= .000) indicating that, on average,

students’ posttests scores do differ significantly from one posttest to another with a
2
medium effect size (partial = .058). Table 6 presents the five standardized posttests

estimated means, their standard errors of estimation, and the 95% confidence interval

associated with each estimated mean.


85

Table 6. Standardized Posttests Estimated Means with Their Standard Errors and 95%
Confidence Interval

Posttest M SE (95% CI)


1 4.080 .118 (3.845, 4.315)
2 3.571 .147 (3.279, 3.863)
3 6.121 .132 (5.859, 6.382)
4 3.716 .163 (3.392, 4.039)
5 5.182 .135 (4.914, 5.449)

The 95% confidence intervals for the posttests’ means show that all of the

posttests means are significantly different from zero. Figure 6 displays the estimated

means of the five posttests. Students’ highest score was on the third posttest when

compared to the remaining four posttests.

Figure 6. Estimated Means for the Five Standardized Posttests.


86

The fact that the five posttests were conducted over a period of 10 weeks with two

weeks apart, allows for further investigation for the presence of possible significant

trends in students’ scores over time. There was a significant quadratic trend (F (1, 101) =

5.107, p = .026) and Order 4 trend (F (1, 101) = 19.264, p = .000). While both trends are

feasibly possible to represent the fluctuation in the posttests means, Order 4 appears to be

the representation of that fluctuation (i.e., note the p value). The posttest means tend to

decline on the second posttest, incline sharply on the third, decline again on the fourth,

then moderately incline on the fifth posttest giving us the significant Order 4 trend.

Bonferroni pairwise multiple comparisons of the posttests means gives another

closer look at the posttests means’ fluctuation. Table 7 presents the ten pairwise

comparisons among the posttest scores with their statistical significance. Eight out of the

ten pairwise comparisons were large enough to be statistically significant. The largest

significant difference in posttests scores was between the second and the third posttests (-

2.550, with p= .000). Out of the two insignificant pair wise comparisons, the smallest

difference was between the second and the fourth posttests scores (-.145, with p= 1.000).

Table 7. Bonferroni Pairwise Comparisons Among Standardized Posttests

Posttest 2 3 4 5
1 .509* -2.041*** .364 -1.102***

2 -2.550*** -.145 -1.611***

3 2.405*** .939***

4 -1.466***

Note. *p < .05, **p < .01, ***p < .001.


87

Researcher-Prepared Posttests Results

Researcher-prepared posttests were examined as the other outcomes of the study.

The tests were prepared by the researcher to accommodate the TBLT method of teaching,

capture, and assess any aspect of students’ English reading comprehension that cannot be

addressed with standardized posttests. Administrating RPA tests is at the same time of

administering standardized posttests. To avoid recall contamination, randomization to

the order of the tests (standardized vs. researcher-prepared) administration was applied

during students testing.

To answer the three sub-questions stated earlier, similar analysis for standardized

posttests is used, Split-Plot design, to analyze researcher-prepared posttests score. These

questions examine the effects of the three factors in the split-plot design, which are the

between-groups (TBLT teaching method versus traditional teaching method) factor and

the within-subjects (researcher-prepared posttest1 to posttest5) factor plus controlling for

a pretest as a covariate in the model. Mauchly’s test of Sphericity was not statistically
2
significant (Mauchly’s W= .873, (9) = 13.542, p= .140). This test infers that the

assumption of Sphericity was not violated and, hence, there is no need for adjustments to

the F-tests.

Pretest effect. A between-subjects test of the pretest revealed that there was a

significant effect of the pretest across the five researcher-prepared posttests (F (1, 101) =
2
13.611, p= .000) and effect size ( = .119) This test infers that having the pretest in the

model contributed significantly to the model and any derived conclusion from the
88

treatment effect on researcher-prepared posttests scores is adjusted for this significant

contribution of the pretest.

A within-subjects test for examining if the effect of the pretest varies significantly

within the five researcher-prepared posttests revealed no statistical significant for this

variation (F (4, 404) = .106, p= .980) with a small effect size ( 2= .001). This test

indicates that the pretest effect on the posttests does not vary significantly across the five

posttests. Both of the between and within-subjects tests suggest that the pretest

significant effect on the posttests is invariant across the five posttests. These findings are

similar to those obtained when using standardized posttests scores. That is the pretest

does have about the same significant effect on the five posttests.

Treatment effect. The between-subjects test for examining the treatment effect

indicated that there is a significant treatment effect on the posttests scores (F (1,101) =

24.483, p= .000) with relatively small to moderate effect size ( 2=0.195). Students

taught with TBLT method on average scored (M=2.768, SE= .101) higher across

researcher-prepared posttests than students taught with the traditional teaching method

(M=2.024, SE= .111).

Looking at the treatment effect within the five researcher-prepared posttests

(within-subjects effect) revealed a significant interaction of the treatment with the five

posttests (F (4, 404) = 9.061, p= .000) with a medium to a large effect size ( 2= .082).

Based on the estimated model, Table 8 shows that the largest difference between TBLT

(M = 3.261, SE = .127) and control (M = 2.088, SE = .140) groups occurred on the fifth

researcher-prepared assessment. The smallest difference was found on the third posttest
89

where TBLT students (M = 2.382, SE = .164) on average scored a bit lower than control

group students (M = 2.452, SE = .180).

Table 8. Researcher-Prepared Posttests Estimated Means and Their Standard Errors

Treatment groups Posttest 1 Posttest 2 Posttest 3 Posttest 4 Posttest 5


TBLT M 2.247 2.691 2.382 3.260 3.261
(n = 57) SE .149 .148 .164 .132 .127
Control M 1.722 1.662 2.452 2.195 2.088
(n = 47) SE .164 .163 .180 .145 .140
Note. TBLT= Task-Based Language Teaching

Figure 7 below depicts the estimated means in Table 8. The graph shows that

TBLT students, on average, performed better than control group students did on four of

the five posttests. Students from both groups scored about the same with slightly higher

scores in favor of the control group on the third researcher-prepared posttest.

Figure 7. Estimated Means of Researcher-Prepared Posttests for TBLT and Control


Groups.
90

Posttest effect. As in the analysis of standardized posttests, the following shows

examination of the pattern of the differences among researcher-prepared posttests

regardless of the group (TBLT vs. control) membership. The within-subjects test for

examining the differences between the five posttests is not statistically significant

indicating that, on average, students’ posttests scores did not differ significantly from one

posttest to another (F (4, 404)= .341, p= .850) and a small effect size ( 2= .003). Table

9 presents the five researcher-prepared posttests estimated means, their standard errors of

estimation and the 95% confidence interval associated with each estimated mean.

Table 9. Researcher-Prepared Posttests Estimated Means with Their Standard Errors


and 95% Confidence Interval

Posttest M SE (95% CI)


1 1.984 .111 (1.765, 2.204)
2 2.176 .110 (1.959, 2.394)
3 2.417 .122 (2.176, 2.658)
4 2.728 .098 (2.533, 2.922)
5 2.674 .094 (2.487, 2.862)

The 95% confidence intervals for the posttests mean show that all of the posttests

means are significantly different from zero. Figure 8 displays the estimated means of the

five posttests. Students’ highest score was on the third posttest when compared to the

remaining four posttests.


91

Figure 8. Estimated Means for the Five Researcher-Prepared Posttests.

Table 10 presents the ten pairwise comparisons among researcher-prepared

posttests scores with their statistical significance. Five out of the ten pairwise

comparisons were large enough to be statistically significant. The largest significant

difference in posttests scores was between the first and the fourth posttests (-.743, with

p= .000). Out of the remaining five insignificant pairwise comparisons, the smallest

difference was between the fourth and the fifth posttests scores (.053, with p= 1.000).

Interestingly enough when the five significant contrasts depicted on the graph in Figure 8,

it is obvious that there is a consistent gradual pattern of significant differences.

Differences between the posttests start to be significant as we move from the first to the

third posttests and gradually continue to be significant all the way to the fifth posttest.

Difference between the first and the second posttests was not large enough to be

statistically significant. Similar pattern inhibited in the second row of Table 10, where

the significant differences started in comparing the second posttest with the fourth and
92

the fifth posttests. Comparison between the second and the third posttests were deemed

not to be significant. Such pattern does not exist when comparing the third posttest to the

fourth or the fifth posttests as the means in these comparisons are from posttests either

next to each other or very close. This is also true for the last comparison between the

fourth and the fifth posttests. Furthermore, all differences have a negative values

indicating that there is a gradual improvement in students’ performances over time except

between the fourth and the fifth posttests where that difference was very small in

magnitude yet positive value. This difference is not significant and could be an artifact of

a random error in the sample.

Table 10. Bonferroni Pair Wise Comparisons Among Researcher-Prepared Posttests

Posttest 2 3 4 5
1 -.192 -.432* -.743*** -.690***

2 -.240 -.551*** -.498***

3 -.311 -.258

4 .053
Note. *p < .05, **p < .01, ***p < .001.
93

Results of the Qualitative Analysis

of the Second Research Question

2. What insights and issues can be gained about implementing TBLT in this research

setting?

Nature of Qualitative Data

Data for this research question were gathered through two data collection

techniques. The first one was observation for both of the control and the treatment

groups. This data collection provides observational data about the control and TBLT

groups. The second data collection technique was researcher log where notes were

written down as recalled after each time the treatment teacher (researcher) taught the

treatment group. Data from both types of data collection techniques took the form of

written notes. The following presents the analysis and results for the second research

question from both qualitative data collection techniques.

Observation of the Control and Treatment Groups

With reference to Figure 2 in Chapter III, the study focused on nine categories to

be considered when writing down observational notes. The first one was (1) setting the

stage which described what the teacher mainly did to create a desired atmosphere for

starting the lesson he had planned such as having the students sit on groups or pairs and

also introducing the lesson at hand. The second category of observational notes, (2)

engaging the students, were interested in showing how the teacher and the students got

involved in the main goal of the lesson such as linking the content of the lesson to

something the students already knew in their daily lives. The third one, (3) running the
94

task, described how and what both of the teacher and the students did to learn the targeted

content (achieve the main goal of the lesson). The fourth one, (4) task completion,

provided notes that describe how both of the teacher and students ensured achieving the

main goal or content of the lesson. The fifth and the sixth categories of observational

notes described the attitudes of both of (5) the students and (6) the teacher throughout the

entire the lesson. The seventh category of observational notes emphasized (7) the

difficulties that faced both of the teacher and the students for achieving the main goal of

the lesson. The eighth and ninth categories of notes stated (8) the advantages and (9)

disadvantages of the teaching method used while teaching the lesson. Table 11 (for the

control group) and Table 12 (for the treatment group) represent a comparison, using the

above categories of observational notes, between the control group, which had been

taught using the traditional teaching method, and the treatment group, which had been

taught using the TBLT method. Each column in Table 11 and Table 12 represents an

observational visit.

Observational visits to the control group. Data were gathered upon classroom

visits to the control group. Analysis of data out of those observational visits was through

a process of reading written notes multiple times. This process of reading helped in

forming trends. These trends aim at describing, making meaning, and explaining the

nature of the teaching and learning situations that accompanied teaching for reading

comprehension in an English as a second language classroom via the traditional

‘prompting’ teaching method (see Appendix I for observational data sample about the

control group).
Table 11. Observational Visits to the Control Group

Weeks 1&2 Weeks 3&4 Weeks 5&6 Weeks 7&8 Weeks 9&10
T= Teacher
Jan 19- Jan 30 Feb 02- Feb 13 Feb 16- Feb 27 Mar 02- March 13 Mar 16- March 27
Traditional Method Traditional Method Traditional Method Traditional Method Traditional Method
SS= students
(Control Group) (Control Group) (Control Group) (Control Group) (Control Group)
At the request T starts with
of T, writing the
T asks ss to T enters the T asks ss to T takes about T asks ss to T asks ss to
T asks ss to researcher topic of the
T asks ss to sit down and classroom be seated and five minutes be seated on be seated and
Setting the be quiet and reminded ss lesson on the
be seated on get their and instructs their to talk about and have their have their
Stage seated about the board. T asks
their seats materials ss to get materials the midterm materials materials
properly. importance of ss to
ready. ready. ready. exam. ready. ready.
what they are concentrate
doing. with him.
T instructs ss T instructs ss T instructs ss
T instructs ss T instructs ss T instructs ss T instructs ss
Engaging the T instructs ss to open their to open their T instructs ss to open their T instructs ss
to open their to open their to open their to open their
Student to open their textbooks on textbooks on to open their textbooks on to open their
textbooks on textbooks on textbooks on textbooks on
(Control) = textbooks on Different Sherlock textbooks on Brooklyn textbooks on
Bill Gates Calvin Hutt the reading Eating Habits
Pre Task Stage the reading customs Holmes the reading Bridge the reading
reading reading passage reading
(Treatment) passage. reading reading passage. reading passage.
passage. passage. (story). passage.
passage. passage. passage.
T reads T reads T reads
T reads T reads
T reads Bill T reads the Different T reads the Sherlock T reads the Brooklyn T reads the
Calvin Hutt Eating Habit
Gates passage passage and customs passage and Holmes passage and Bridge passage and
The way the passage and passage and
and explains explains the passage and explains the passage and explains the passage and explains the
main goal is explains the explains the
the meaning meaning of explains meaning of explains the meaning of explains the meaning of
learned meaning of meaning of
of the new the new meaning of the new meaning of the new meaning of the new
(control) = the new the new
vocabularies. vocabularies. the new vocabularies. the new vocabularies. the new vocabularies.
Running the vocabularies. vocabularies.
Three ss take Three ss take vocabularies. Three ss take vocabularies. Three ss take vocabularies. Three ss take
Task Three ss take Three ss take
turns to read turns to read Three ss take turns to read Three ss take turns to read Three ss take turns to read
(Treatment) turns to read turns to read
the passage the passage turns to read the passage turns to read the passage turns to read the passage
the passage the passage
loudly for the loudly for the the passage loudly for the the passage loudly for the the passage loudly for the
loudly for the loudly for the
class. class. loudly for the class. loudly for the class. loudly for the class.
class. class.
class. class. class.
Note. T= teacher/ SS= students

95
Table11 (Continued)

Weeks 1&2 Weeks 3&4 Weeks 5&6 Weeks 7&8 Weeks 9&10
T= Teacher
Jan 19- Jan 30 Feb 02- Feb 13 Feb 16- Feb 27 Mar 02- March 13 Mar 16- March 27
SS= Traditional Method Traditional Method Traditional Method Traditional Method Traditional Method
students (Control Group) (Control Group) (Control Group) (Control Group) (Control Group)
T asks ss to T asks ss to T asks ss to T asks ss to T asks ss to
T asks ss to T asks ss to
do the do the do the do the T asks ss to do do the T asks ss to do T asks ss to do
Assessment do the do the
provided provided provided provided the provided provided the provided the provided
(Control) = provided provided
exercises exercises exercises exercises exercises and exercises exercises and exercises and
Task exercises and exercises and
and and and and complete the and complete the complete the
Completion complete the complete the
complete the complete the complete the complete the remaining as complete the remaining as remaining as
(Treatment) remaining as remaining as
remaining as remaining as remaining as remaining as homework. remaining as homework. homework.
homework. homework.
homework. homework. homework. homework. homework.
SS show lack
of interest in
Ss are Some students Easily sensed
the lesson as
distracted. SS show more want to bother the discomfort
they asked
E.g. one s enthusiasm. themselves with of ss. Some ss
SS do not Few SS about topic not
plays with his E.g. about six anything to avoid blew breath
like the want to related to the SS show
cell phone, SS are ss show following with strongly out of
SS are very reading complete lesson. Two ss better
two ss are reluctant to interest while the reader. E.g. their mouths/
quiet and lesson. E.g. writing math have a battle of attention
Student chatting volunteer T is reading a eyes wandering, dropping the
few of them one s says notes on the words for a with the T
Attitudes secretly. The for reading story (the playing with textbook
are quietly to his board from reason I do not as he reads
front line of the passage reading pens, using body strongly on a
yawning. neighbor “do previous know. SS with the passage
the class loudly. passage) e.g. languages to table. One s
we have to lesson. SS lower abilities than before.
seemed to be They asked communicate said “yea it is
study this?” are tired. have trouble
following some with other ss so going to be the
doing the
greatly with questions. as not to be last time to do
reading
T. overheard. this”
exercises/ few
ss give up.

Note. T= teacher/ SS= students

96
Table 11 (Continued)

T= Weeks 1&2 Weeks 3&4 Weeks 5&6 Weeks 7&8 Weeks 9&10
Teacher Jan 19- Jan 30 Feb 02- Feb 13 Feb 16- Feb 27 Mar 02- March 13 Mar 16- March 27
SS= Traditional Method Traditional Method Traditional Method Traditional Method Traditional Method
students (Control Group) (Control Group) (Control Group) (Control Group) (Control Group)
T is more
T has a hard T is keeping relaxed this T does not show
T gives a
time making control of the time. T shows care whether ss
general T looks
T is tensed. E.g ss active and class. Ss T has control Probably due concentration while liked the lesson
T promises to warning at the inconvenient
he repeatedly follow with needed a over the class. T to the reading the or no. T
give extra beginning of at the
asks ss to pay him as he is verbal is earnest. T interesting passage. T is continues to do
Teacher points for the lesson that situation. T
attention and reading. E.g. permission directed ss who story he is prompting the ss what he usually
Attitudes those who he is going to Uses some
follow with him T raises his from T to do asked unrelated teaching or with all info. E.g. T does (reading).
volunteer to take points off humor to
as he was voice and anything i.e questions to see maybe says something and T picks three ss
read. of those who do withdraw ss
reading. asks ss to read, write, him after class. because ss asks ss to repeat to take turns to
not pay attention.
pay leave the are interested after him. read loudly for
attention.
attention. class. and the class.
enthusiastic.
Keeping track of
Ss at the The atmosphere
time as the time
back of the of the class is
Having ss SS do not SS are elapsed before
Having ss class are not No SS do not show tensed. I doubt
concentrated want to read No difficulties concentrating completing the
Difficulties concentrate on sure what to difficulties care about the topic of the ss
on the loudly for the are observed. on another lesson. Having
the lesson. do with the observed. at hand. benefited from
lesson. class. lesson. all students
passage the reading
concentrated on
exercises. passage.
the lesson.

Note. T= teacher/ SS= students

97
Table 11 (Continued)

Weeks 1&2 Weeks 3&4 Weeks 5&6 Weeks 7&8 Weeks 9&10
T= Teacher
Jan 19- Jan 30 Feb 02- Feb 13 Feb 16- Feb 27 Mar 02- March 13 Mar 16- March 27
Traditional Method Traditional Method Traditional Method Traditional Method Traditional Method
SS= students
(Control Group) (Control Group) (Control Group) (Control Group) (Control Group)
The topic of
the reading
helped T and
T’s promise
ss to be
of extra points T is Easy for the
involved
The class is encouraged intelligent No T. E.g T sits
Easy for T to A very Easy control greatly in the No advantages
Advantages extremely few five for using his advantages on his chair
control the class. quiet class. for the class. lesson. SS observed.
quiet. students to sense of observed. and monitors
needed more
volunteer for humor. the class.
motivation. SS
reading.
participated
more than
usual.
Ss are
passive i.e
could not
find any
T cannot
token of Boring/
give ss all
enthusiasm. T centered. T is prompting/ no
T centered. SS what he T uses about
T centered. SS E.g. T asks a Boring class. T centered. SS prompting SS. active
T centered. are passive. planned to 80% of time.
Disadvantages seemed to be question no Passive ss. T are mostly A great deal of involvement
Passive SS. Individual give due to Passive
board. one centered. listeners. drills and in the reading/
work. elapse of students.
volunteered repetition. and T
time. T
to answer. Ss centered.
centered.
never ask
questions.
So T has to
pick one.

Note. T= teacher/ SS= students

98
Table 12. Observational Visits to the Task-Based Language Teaching TBLT Group

Weeks 1&2 Weeks 3&4 Weeks 5&6 Weeks 7&8 Weeks 9&10
T= Teacher
Jan 19- Jan 30 Feb 02- Feb 13 Feb 16- Feb 27 Mar 02- March 13 Mar 16- March 27
Teaching with TBLT Teaching with TBLT Teaching with TBLT Teaching with TBLT Teaching with TBLT
SS= students
(Treatment) (Treatment) (Treatment) (Treatment) (Treatment)
SS have prepared SS have prepared
SS have prepared SS have prepared
themselves and set in themselves and set in SS have prepared SS have prepared
themselves and set in themselves and set in
groups of four to five groups of four to five themselves and set in themselves and set in
groups of four to five ss. groups of four to five ss. 2
ss. 2 ss help the T hock ss. 2 ss help the T hock groups of four to five ss. 2 groups of four to five ss. 2
2 ss help the T hock the ss help the T hock the
the computer and the computer and ss help the T hock the ss help the T hock the
Setting the computer and projector. T computer and projector. T
projector. T provides a projector. T provides a computer and projector. T computer and projector. T
Stage provides a road map to provides a road map to
road map to the ss/ road map to the ss/ provides a road map to the provides a road map to the
the ss/ what they are the ss/ what they are
what they are going to what they are going to ss/ what they are going to ss/ what they are going to
going to do/ and what is going to do/ and what is
do/ and what is do/ and what is do/ and what is expected out do/ and what is expected
expected out of the expected out of the
expected out of the expected out of the of the lesson. out of the lesson.
lesson. lesson.
lesson. lesson.
T runs PowerPoint
T runs PowerPoint slides T runs PowerPoint slides
T runs PowerPoint slides Ss are involved into slides (exercise) about T runs PowerPoint slides
(exercise) about rich (exercise) about types of
(exercise) about video group discussion to famous TV & movie (exercise) about nursery
people whom ss know in food that ss are familiar
games that ss are familiar provide some of the stars that ss are stories that ss are familiar
their real lives. This with and from their real
Engaging the with in their daily lives recent stereotypes they familiar. This exercise with and from their real
exercise is related to the lives and which are related
Student and which are related to see in their daily lives. is related to the main lives and which are related
main goal of the lesson. T to the main goal of the
the main goal of the This activity is related goal of the lesson. The to the main goal of the
accepts almost all lesson. Due to time
lesson. T provides a to the main goal of the slides work in perfect lesson. Little interruption
participation from constraint, groups have to
catchy task for ss to do. lesson. harmony with groups of from the counselor.
groups. share answers fast.
ss.
Ss begin reading a story
Ss read Bill Gates reading Ss read Sherlock
about the Man Who Sold In groups, ss read Eating
passage in groups. SS Ss are engaged in reading Groups of Ss are Holmes reading passage
Brooklyn Bridge in groups. Habits reading passage in
within each group help East Coast Games involved in reading in groups. Each group
Running the Each group shares with groups. Ss within each
each other understand the passage in groups. After Different Customs. shares with other
Task (TBLT) other groups what they have group discuss with each
passage. Each group they finished reading they Every group tells the groups what they have
The way the learned from the story. T other the ideas presented in
shares with other groups share with other groups other groups what they learned. T reads the
main goal is reads the passage and the passage. Groups share
what they have learned. T what they have learned. T understood from passage and provides
learned explains anything the with others what they have
reads the passage and facilitates the work of passage. T reads the further explanation.
(control students have missed. Ss learned. T reads the passage
explains anything the groups. T reads the passage loudly and Few ss asked about
Group) ask T about the reading and for all class. Ss gave
students have missed. Ss passage for all groups explains it to all the things they did not
passage. Some ss gave their comments about the
ask T about the reading with explanation. class. understood from the
opinions about the main passage.
passage. passage.
character of the story.

99
Table 12 (Continued)
Weeks 1&2 Weeks 3&4 Weeks 5&6 Weeks 7&8 Weeks 9&10
T= Teacher
Jan 19- Jan 30 Feb 02- Feb 13 Feb 16- Feb 27 Mar 02- March 13 Mar 16- March 27
Teaching with TBLT Teaching with TBLT Teaching with TBLT Teaching with TBLT Teaching with TBLT
SS= students
(Treatment) (Treatment) (Treatment) (Treatment) (Treatment)
SS do the provided SS do the provided
SS do the provided SS do the provided SS do the provided SS do the provided
exercises in groups exercises in groups and
exercises in groups and exercises in groups and exercises in groups and exercises in groups and
Task and share what and share what and how
share what and how they share what and how they share what and how they share what and how they
Completion how they answered the they answered the
answered the questions. answered the questions. answered the questions. answered the questions.
(assessment) questions. Each S does questions. Each S does
Each S does the narrative Each S does the narrative Each S does the narrative Each S does the narrative
the narrative question the narrative question
question by himself. question by himself. question by himself. question by himself.
by himself. by himself.
Ss are interested in the
Ss are very active in
lesson. SS like the idea of Ss show great
participation. They speak
being in groups. E.g. one enthusiasm. E.g. it Ss are attentive and Ss are very encouraged to
Ss showed concentration far more than the T.
s said “we are studying looks like groups are excited which is shown participate and share what
while reading the passage. However, there is slightly
Student differently”. Group work competing against through their sharing they have learned from the
SS seem to enjoy being in side chat that is not relevant
Attitudes is new to them. This each other i.e which with other groups and passage. This appears in
groups, which appears in to the story. However, ss
provided extra burden on one can give more through their questions their comments on the
their serious discussions. gave wonderful point of
T to explain groups’ information about the to their T reading passage.
views about the main
duties over and over passage.
character of the story.
again.
T is more relaxed this
T is anxious about the time. T gives ss a great T models a facilitator T gives clear
time. T gives clear deal of encouragement as he passes among instruction. T is anxious T is a little annoyed from T is relaxed and frequently
Teacher instruction. T gives ss a and praise to ss. T is groups. T always about the time. T give the counselor who uses humor. T encourages
Attitudes great deal of tolerant. E.g. he accepts praises the groups ss a great deal of interrupted the class. T is and praises the groups as
encouragement and praise almost all participation i.e stating that they are encouragement and very anxious about the time. they working.
to ss. not picking on ss, which doing wonderful job. praise to ss.
is right or wrong.
Keeping track of time as the
Ss lack the knowledge of
time elapsed before
the meaning of group T continuously passes
T is standing all the completing the lesson. This
work. Time is elapsing through groups and T keeps attention to all T’s breath shows that he is
Difficulties duration of the lesson and is due to the interruption
quickly. Side chats provides attention to groups. fainted.
passes through groups. made by the counselor.
among few ss. Hard for all groups.
Time is not sufficient. Side
the teacher
chat among few ss.

100
Table 12 (Continued)

Weeks 1&2 Weeks 3&4 Weeks 5&6 Weeks 7&8 Weeks 9&10
T= Teacher
Jan 19- Jan 30 Feb 02- Feb 13 Feb 16- Feb 27 Mar 02- March 13 Mar 16- March 27

Teaching with TBLT Teaching with TBLT Teaching with TBLT Teaching with TBLT Teaching with TBLT
SS= students
(Treatment) (Treatment) (Treatment) (Treatment) (Treatment)

All groups are busy It is all about


Ss centered. Ss are active
working. Ss negotiate the Ss speak far more than understanding. SS are Ss are very active in asking
in asking questions and SS are active in asking
meaning of the reading their teacher. Ss seem very active in questions and providing
providing responses. questions and providing
Advantages passage they have. T is to learn from each participation (asking responses / learning is ss
Teaching focuses more in responses/ learning is ss
passing groups and other more than that questions and sharing centered/ T role is to guide
understanding. T is a centered/ T role is minimal.
provides guidance for ss. from their T. responses).T is a and monitor groups of ss.
facilitator.
T provides guidance facilitator.
Requires mental and Requires mental and
physical attendance of T. physical attendance of
Requires mental and Requires mental and
T has the required skills Requires mental and T. T has the required
physical attendance of T. physical attendance of T. Requires mental and
Disadvantages to teach via TBLT. Other physical attendance of skills to teach via
Time needs to be highly Time needs to be highly physical attendance of T.
Ts might need training to T. TBLT. Other Ts might
organized. organized.
be able to teach via need training to be able
TBLT. to teach via TBLT.
Note. TBLT = Task-Based Language Teaching/ T= teacher/ SS= students

101
102

One of these trends, as interpreted from Table 11, is that teaching via the

traditional method is monotonous. In other words, the way the lessons were introduced,

run, and assessed, students and teacher’s attitudes, difficulties, advantages, and

disadvantages were pretty much similar across most of the observational visits. For

instance, teacher’s asking students to be seated with their textbooks opened on the

reading passage was a mundane introduction to almost all reading lessons observed.

Also, reading the passage solely by the teacher and a couple of students took turns to read

aloud for the whole class, and had, afterwards, all students individually do the

providedexercises were common themes among running the lesson and assessing students

for achieving the main goal of the lesson. The monotonous nature of the traditional

teaching method yielded almost similar observational notes for the students and teacher’s

attitudes, difficulties, and advantages and disadvantages.

Analyzing data related to students’ attitude showed that students lacked interest in

the reading lessons. This interpretation is obtained from a number of responses and

actions done by the students across the several visits. For instance, eyes wandering in the

celling and sometimes yawning of students were pretty much common across most of the

observational visits. In earlier visits, students in the control group would remain quite

and not take the initiative to ask questions, provide answers to questions asked by the

teacher or, even volunteer to read the passage for the class. Later on, when the presence

of the investigator in the classroom became a regular matter, students started to show

more courage to display their attitudes towards the learning situations taking place. For

example, in the third week, one student said quietly to his neighbor, “do we have to study
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this?” showing little care to be overheard by the investigator who was sitting next to

them. Also, in the seventh week, students asked about things that were totally unrelated

to the reading lesson. They wanted to do anything but not reading. The last week

provided a valuable insight about the students’ lack of interest in the reading lesson;

almost all students exclaimed with happiness that it was their last time in the semester to

do reading.

Teacher’s attitudes, on the other hand, provided another evidence of inadequacy

of the traditional teaching method. In other words, teacher was tensed with the situation

that students were not paying the expected attention across most of the observed reading

lessons and, hence, repeatedly asked students, in a tune that showed inconvenience, to

follow with him and concentrate at the reading passage. The teacher even pointed out in

the eighth week that he would take off points of students who did not follow with him as

he was reading the passage. Also, it was obvious that the teacher was annoyed of the

students being passive and not volunteering to ask questions or respond to questions he

asked. To overcome this problem, the teacher promised to give extra credit points for

students who showed active involvement in the reading lesson.

Consistent difficulties across most of the observed lessons can be classified into

two main categories. The first and most important difficulty the teacher faced was

having students involve and concentrate on the reading lesson. For example, the teacher

repeatedly and with louder voice asked students to pay attention to what he was reading

and students were almost always reluctant to participate through reading, asking, or

responding to questions. The second category of difficulties was emerging from the solo
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work of students. In other words, the nature of the implemented traditional teaching

method required students to individually do the provided reading exercises. Students

who did not know what or how to do those exercises found themselves left alone and

finally gave up.

The advantages of the traditional teaching method seemed to be far less than the

observed disadvantages. One advantage of the traditional teaching method was that it

was easy for the teacher to teach and enabled him to have control over class the entire

duration of the lesson. Another controversial advantage was that students were quiet

across most of the lessons observed.

Disadvantages, on the other hand, could be seen from three main perspectives.

The first one was that the traditional teaching method was highly teacher-centered. In

other words, it was the teacher who did most of the work in the reading lesson. The

teacher would read the passage, explain the reading passage, assign two or three students

to read, give instructions to students, and read exercises and ask students to do them. The

teacher alone used about 70 to 80% of time of the duration of the reading lesson. The

second perspective was that the students were bored with the English language reading

class. Students used from 70 to 80% of time listening to their teacher while speaking.

Students did not have any types of activities to do during the reading lesson except the

one they do individually towards the end of the lesson. The third perspective of

disadvantages was that the traditional teaching method heavily relied on prompting

practices. In other words, instruction and explanation were always orally by the teacher.
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Students also did several drills to memorize the correct pronunciations of some English

words.

Observational visits to the TBLT group. Observational data gathered about the

treatment (TBLT) group were through classroom visits by a knowledgeable colleague of

TBLT to the treatment teacher (researcher) who was teaching English with emphasis on

reading comprehension via the TBLT method to the treatment group. Analysis of those

observational data was through a process of reading written notes multiple times. This

process of reading helped in forming trends. These trends aim at describing and

explaining the nature of the teaching and learning situations that accompanied teaching

reading in an English as a second language classroom via the TBLT method (see

Appendix J for observational data sample about the treatment group).

One of the trends, as interpreted from Table 12, was that teaching via the TBLT

method took longer time to describe. In other words, written notes about the teaching

and learning situations while implementing TBLT had more descriptive details. The

reason behind that is that the nature of the TBLT method consists of various elements

that lead to more actions to take place in classroom from all parties involved in the lesson

being taught. In essence, there were more things that took place while running the lesson

and, hence, needed more words to describe them.

Another interpreted trend about the implementation of TBLT was consistency. In

other words, the skeleton of the reading lesson taught via TBLT consisted of three main

stages. The first one, pre-task, aimed at engaging students into the main goal of the

lesson. The second stage, running the task, described students while they were actually
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doing what they were intended to do. In the third stage, task completion, students

provided their teacher with a product for the purposes of assessing to what extent students

had achieved the main goal of the lesson.

Having said that the observational data suggested consistency following the three

stages of the TBLT method, teaching and learning were also characterized by having a

great deal of variety. In other words, various activities took place during the three fixed

stages of the TBLT method. For example, in a reading lesson in the second week about

Calvin Hutt’s Career Life, students in the pre-task stage provided their classmates with

lists of video games they were playing at home and read a passage about Calvin Hutt’s

Career Life in the running task stage. Students in the task completion stage imagined

they were participating in a live competition show to answer a question asked by the

interviewer where they told the audience (their teacher and other groups of students) as

much details as they could about Calvin Hutt’s Career Life.

The most prevailing trend across most of the nine observational data categories in

Table 12 was that learning via the TBLT method was learner-centered. Learner-centered

meant here that that the students were the central focus of instruction and students

participated in creating their learning situations. To clarify this notion, a careful

investigation is bestowed to the nine observational data categories in Table 12. Students

were described or mentioned by the observer almost in every cell across all columns

unlike the teacher whom the observer mentioned fewer times and described in roles of

being a facilitator rather than a source of instruction. In other words, students were active

learners (i.e., they were discussing, negotiating, reading, and displaying their
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understanding of what they had been learning). This meant the learning situation via the

TBLT method revolved around the learners.

Students had realized in the first week of the study the difference occurred in the

way they were taught and which appeared in one student’s comment to his group, “we are

studying differently.” Studying via TBLT or “studying differently” had positively

enhanced students’ verbal responses towards the learning situation, and which was

revealed in multiple occasions across the following weeks of the study. For instances,

students tended to organize themselves at the beginning of each lesson, join their groups,

and show readiness to start the reading lessons without much efforts or further notices

from the treatment teacher (researcher). Also, the students always showed engagement in

group works and enthusiastically shared their responses with their classmates.

Difficulties as observed when adopting the TBLT method could be seen from

three perspectives. One difficulty was related to the design of the lesson plan. The

design of lesson plan was compound involving three interrelated stages (pre-task,

running the task, and task completion). The interrelation among those three stages meant

that they all strived to accomplish the intended goal of the lesson. This interrelation

required a kind of coherence or unity in the mechanism of those three stages where each

stage was derived from or built upon the other stages. In other words, the pre-task stage

primarily introduced the running task stage and the task completion stage investigated or

showed to what extent the task was run and learned. To visually see how the unity of

mechanism was carried out, see lesson plans in Appendix K.


108

The second difficulty about implementing the TBLT method was the factor of

time. Since there were multiple activities to be carried out by students across the three

stages of the lesson, keeping track of time seemed to be the most challenging difficulty

that the treatment teacher. Upon designing the lesson plan, each one of the three stages

of the lesson was allotted a certain amount of time of the duration of the lesson. The

occurrence of unintended loss of time or spending more time than planned in one stage

might lead to not achieving the main goal of the lesson as hoped or planned. The

problem of the time factor happened in the seventh week when there was an interruption

by the counselor, who took about ten minutes from the time of the class, a failure to

comply with the designed lesson plan took place. The students did not have time to go

the task completion stage in that lesson.

The third difficulty was pretty much related to the teacher role in the classroom.

Mental and physical attendance needed to be present by the teacher. In other words, the

teacher needed to physically pass through all groups of students who were discussing or

sharing information and be mentally available for guidance to students. Besides

responding to any group questions, the teacher needed to even engage or participate with

every group as a sign of paying attention to what students were saying in groups and

value their inputs. The absence of appropriate physical and mental attendance of the

teacher might lead to a deviation of groups of students from the intended group work to

unrelated lesson talks. This suggests that teacher’s role can be described by being a

facilitator in the TBLT method and which is even more demanding on the teacher

physically and mentally.


109

Careful analysis of the two categories of observational data related to the

advantages and disadvantages of the implementation of the TBLT method in Table 12

showed that the advantages and disadvantages went along with or supported by the

interpreted trends earlier. Examples of advantages related to learners included; that

students were very active in terms of asking questions and sharing responses, negotiation

of meaning was always present among groups of students while reading passages, focus

was on students since they tended to speak far more than their teacher, presence of peer

or collegial learning as students learned more details about the reading passage from

shared responses by groups of students, and students’ comprehension of meaning was

always the ultimate aim targeted by the practices involved in the TBLT lesson.

Interpreted advantages related to the work of the teacher were much less than the

observed ones about the students. The reason was that the teacher was not the central

focus or the main source of information and, hence, focus was more on the students who

were making action. Among the advantages that described the work of the teacher

included that he was modeling the role of a facilitator as he was passing among groups

providing them with guidance, monitoring group works, relaxed, and frequently used his

sense of humor.

Disadvantages were minimal and related to the work of the teacher in the

classroom rather than that of students. The most prevailing disadvantage about the

implementation of the TBLT method was that it was demanding on the teacher and
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required mental and physical attendance by the teacher.4 At last but not least,

implementing TBLT required more time and, hence, any unintended loss of time might

easily lead to failure to achieve the main goal of the lesson as planned. At last, teaching

via the TBLT method was not easy work for the teacher and required certain skills and

background about the TBLT method before implementing it on the classroom, and which

the treatment teacher had while he was teaching.

Researcher Log

With reference to researcher log in Chapter III, data gathered under this data

collection tool were the observed data by the treatment teacher (researcher) as he

recalled them after each time he taught the TBLT group. In other words, analyzed data

under this tool were restricted to the TBLT group and not the control group. Analysis of

these data followed a systematic process known in qualitative research as Grounded

Theory. The reason for using Grounded Theory is that the observed data under

researcher log primarily serve most of the five interrelated jobs of a theory which

include: enabling prediction or explanation of behavior, being useful in theoretical

advance in sociology, being usable in practical applications as predication and

explanation foster practitioners to understand and have some control of situations,

providing a perspective on behavior, and guiding and providing a style of research on

particular areas of behavior (Glaser & Strauss, 1973).

Grounded Theory is a method of analyzing qualitative data (Glaser & Strauss,

1973). In essence, Grounded Theory works in reverse to the function of the regular

4This notion is elaborately explained under the observed difficulties that accompanied the
implementation of the TBLT method earlier in this chapter.
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theory. Whereas the regular theory starts with a hypothesis and then strives to gather

examples or data to support the theoretical hypothesis, in Grounded Theory data are first

gathered and based upon which a hypothesis emerges through a systematic process. This

systematic process includes first collecting data, drawing a base line of repeated data,

assigning codes for the repeated data, grouping these codes into similar concepts from

which categories are formed. Categories become the basis for the creation of a theory.

Analysis of the observed data under researcher log accordingly followed a

systematic process. After the data were collected, they were read many times. During

reading, some collected data were repeated and which enabled to start assigning codes for

those repeated data. As this process was repeated many times, a base line was developed

for repeated data. This process yielded a number of codes that represented the repeated

data. These codes were grouped into similar categories. This analysis also included

thoughts and understanding of the meaning of the collected data of a peer who read the

collected data under researcher log.

The analysis of data collected via researcher log showed that they revolved

around four categories. Not surprisingly, the two most prevailing categories were about

the students’ roles and attitudes in the classroom. The collected data under those two

categories support the observational data interpreted under Table 12 and which adds

further strength to the findings. The third category was very much related to running

TBLT as a method of teaching with emphasis on reading comprehension in an English as

a second language classroom in this research setting. The fourth category of data was

related to the role and impression of the teacher (researcher) in the classroom while he
112

was teaching via the TBLT method in this research setting. Figure 9 shows the numbers

of counted key words that describe each category.5

400
Number of Key words Per Category

350
300
250
200
150
100
50
0
Students' Roles Students' Method of Teacher
Attitudes Teaching
Researcher Log Data Categories

Figure 9. Number of Counted Key Words under the Four Categories.

The reasons that made students’ roles and attitudes be the two most prevailing

categories in a reading lesson taught via the TBLT method could be linked to the reality

that they had played a central role or were the action makers during the flow of the

reading lesson. Data out of researcher log repeatedly described the roles of students they

had been playing in the classroom. The three most frequent roles included reading,

discussing, and sharing. Collected data also tended to report what students had been

doing in the classroom. Students started every reading lesson with a group discussion,

the pre-task stage, involving an activity that imitated students’ daily lives and which

5
Figure 9 includes counted numbers of key words under each category and excludes neutral
words such as articles, prepositions, and verbs to be.
113

helped engage the students in the intended reading content. Every group of students

extended its work after the engaging activity to read the reading passage, group members

discussed their understanding of what they had read, and formulated an agreed-upon

response to share with other groups.

The second half of the prevailing data was a description of students’ attitudes

towards the reading lesson. The two most common words used to describe the students’

attitudes were enthusiasm and involvement. Enthusiasm and involvement in this setting

referred to the manner in which the students were performing the aforementioned roles

(reading, discussing, and sharing). Two examples derived from the raw data could give a

picture of enthusiasm and involvement of students in the reading lesson. In the third

week, two groups of students had an argument about who should have the turn first to

start sharing their responses with other groups. The group that started first usually had

the opportunity to share another time as long as the time allotted for group sharing was

not consumed. The second example was about a student who actually broke the

boundaries of group work in the fifth week. When the turn was for his group to share

with a response, that student enthusiastically stood up and orally narrated the whole of

the reading passage consuming more than the time allotted for his group. In the

meantime, the teacher (researcher) tried to politely give the chance to another group but

the student would not stop and continued all the way to the end of his long response.

Students’ attitude towards the reading lesson taught via the TBLT method was

positive. Interpreted data showed that they even loved and enjoyed what they were doing

in the reading lesson. Beside the never observed complain or lack of interests tokens that
114

universally accompany any an undesired class by students at the age of the students

participating in the study, the treatment teacher (researcher) considered an incident that

had happened in the fourth week as an evidence or at least an indicator that the students

loved the reading lesson taught via the TBLT method.

It was Wednesday (the last day of school week days in Saudi Arabia) when the

teacher (researcher), as usual after teaching students the reading class, headed towards the

teachers’ office room. The counselor stopped the treatment teacher and asked him if he

gave his instructions to five of the students not to participate in a tour outside the school

hosted by an outsider organization. The treatment teacher told the counselor that he had

not given any instructions in this regards. In the middle of that conversation, the

treatment teacher was shocked out of surprise and wondered about the reason that

prevented the five students from going on the tour as he knew that every student wished

to participate in similar tours. The treatment teacher asked the counselor about the reason

that made the students opted not participate in the tour. The counselor replied that the

students said that they had had an English reading class and they did not want go on the

tour. That incident was complemented by a phone call after the end of the study by the

original teacher to the treatment teacher (researcher) stating that some students asked him

to teach them the way the treatment teacher (researcher) was teaching them.

The third category was related to the application of the TBLT method in this

research setting. Interpreted data out of researcher log suggested some difficulties that

the treatment teacher had faced when implementing the TBLT method. One of those

difficulties was that the students did not know the meaning or not used to group work. At
115

the beginning, students were sitting in groups but working individually which made the

treatment teacher correct that at once explaining duties and expectations out of group

work. Another difficulty, which might be a consequence of the first one, was the

existence of minimal side talks (not related to the lesson at hand) among some students at

the beginning of the study. However, as the study progressed and students understood

the meaning of group work, those minimal side talks started to vanish. The last difficulty

was related to the challenge of time. Time was congesting and reading lessons taught in

this study tended to finish exactly by the end of the allotted duration of time and

sometime a minute or two minutes were to be borrowed from the breaks following the

lessons. That warned that any unintended loss of time might severely prevent students

from achieving the goal of the lesson as planned.

The fourth category was related to the teacher’s (researcher) role and impression

in this research setting. Interpreted data out of researcher log showed that the treatment

teacher (researcher) had described what he was doing in every class he had taught. The

way he was teaching was consistent across all lessons and strictly followed the principles

of the TBLT method he was implementing including the three stages of a TBLT lesson

(pre-task, running the task, and task completion). The treatment teacher precisely

followed the lesson plans he designed for every reading lesson class. To engage students

in the main task of the lesson, those lessons tended to start with group activities that were

derived from students’ daily lives while ensuring the achievement of the main goal of the

lesson (running the task) was through a retelling activity that too imitated students’ real

lives. The teacher’s (researcher) impression showed always satisfaction about the way he
116

taught and the way students were working in the classroom. However, a couple of times

the TBLT teacher mentioned that he was exhausted and that might be linked to the

continuous physical motion the treatment teacher was doing while passing among groups

and paying attention to groups’ discussions as well as participating with them.

Combining Quantitative and Qualitative Results

Each of the previous two sections (quantitative & qualitative analyses) provided

detailed description of the analysis and the findings of the study. While each analysis

revealed specific findings that were related to the nature of the data collection tools used

to answer one of the two research questions, this section attempts to combine findings of

both quantitatively and qualitatively collected data to provide a full or complete picture

about the findings of the study. The two research questions were:

1. Is using the TBLT method for teaching English as a second language for male,

third-grade students in intermediate schools in Saudi Arabia more effective in the

acquisition of the English language, in terms of students’ achievement on reading

comprehension, than using the traditional “prompting” method?

2. What insights and issues can be gained about implementing TBLT in this research

setting?

The overall of the statistical analyses of the quantitatively collected data provided

valuable findings to answer the first research question. The major finding that explicitly

answered this question was: yes, the application of the TBLT method for teaching

English as a second language for male, third-grade students in intermediate schools in

Saudi Arabia was more effective in the acquisition of the English language, in terms of
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students’ achievement on reading comprehension, than using the traditional “prompting”

method. In other words, the application of TBLT method in this research setting helped

increase the students’ achievement scores in reading comprehension. That major finding

was statistically reported by two sources of data (researcher-prepared assessments and

standardized text-established tests), and which even increased the validity of the findings.

The pretest results also showed that students were equal across the control and treatment

groups eliminating the possibility for effect of initial level of the English language

reading comprehension before the application of the TBLT method. The average scores

of both types of posttests (researcher-prepared assessment and standardized text-

established tests) of the control and treatment groups were highly significant in favor of

the treatment group.

Qualitatively collected data on the other hand greatly helped describe and explain

the surroundings of the application of the TBLT method in this research setting. Because

neither group knew their group identification (treatment or control) nor knew the way

they were going to be taught before the beginning of the study, this study assumes that

students in both groups have a very low level of possibility to form a prejudice that might

interact with their attitudes towards the learning situations. Hence, the interpreted

qualitative data showed that teaching via the TBLT method in this research setting helped

students develop a desired attitudes towards the learning situations, unlike the traditional

teaching method that showed that students had developed undesired attitudes towards the

learning situations as elaborately explained under the analyses of the qualitative data.

Another vital finding interpreted from the qualitative data was that teaching via the TBLT
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method required both of the students and their teacher to play roles or involve in practices

that went along with the practices of the constructivist learning theory, unlike the

traditional teaching method which involved practices and roles of students and their

teacher that went along with the behaviorist learning theory as elaborated in Chapter Two

and under the analyses of the qualitative data.

Interpreted quantitative and qualitative data when combined showed that they had

provided support and evidences for the findings suggested by each set of data. In other

words, qualitative findings that suggested that the TBLT method had helped the students

in the treatment group develop desired attitudes towards the learning situations were

supported by the quantitative findings that showed that the TBLT method had also helped

students increase their achievement scores in reading comprehension of the English

language. Also, the quantitative findings that showed that the traditional teaching method

did not help students in the control group increase their achievement scores in reading

comprehension as compared to that of the TBLT method were supported by the

qualitative findings that showed that the traditional teaching method also did not help the

students develop desired attitudes towards the learning situations as that of the TBLT

method.

Summary

Chapter IV presented the analyses and results of this study. The chapter had

begun with an introduction that warned in advance that the analyses and results will be

organized or divided into three main sections. The first section was related to the results

of the quantitative analysis of the first research question. This section had shown that the
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statistical analysis addressed the first research question was the Two-Factor Spilt-Plot

design. Interpreted quantitative results from the pre-test showed that students in both of

the treatment and control groups were equal in terms of their prior knowledge of reading

comprehension of the English language. Interpreted quantitative results showed that

students’ posttests scores for the treatment group were higher and statistically significant

than those of students’ ones in the control group.

The second section was related to the results of the qualitative analysis of the

second research question. This section had shown that observational data were

distributed into two tables (Table 11 and Table 12) for the purposes of comparison and

contrast between the traditional teaching method and the TBLT method. This section had

also shown that analysis of data out of researcher log were via Grounded Theory.

Interpreted results out of the qualitative data showed that the TBLT method helped

students develop desired attitudes towards the learning situations and involved practices

and roles of students and their teacher that went along with the constructivist learning

theory. Interpreted results out of the qualitative data showed that the traditional teaching

method did not help students develop desired attitudes towards the learning situations and

involved practices and roles of students and their teacher that went along with the

behaviorist learning theory. The Third section focused on combining both of the

quantitative and qualitative findings. This section had shown that they had provided

support and evidences for the findings suggested by each set of data.
CHAPTER V

DISCUSSION, IMPLICATIONS, AND CONCLUSION

Introduction

Chapter V discusses the findings of the study and aims at linking them to some of

the existing educational issues. For the purposes of organization, this chapter consists of

three main parts. The first part, Discussion, addresses the major quantitative and

qualitative findings of the study. Discussion of these findings provides the opportunity to

address sub-topics related to where TBLT falls in a pedagogical context, student-centered

vs. teacher-centered approach of instruction, classroom communication, and the

methodological limitations of the quantitative and qualitative findings of this study. The

second part, Implications, mainly addresses how the reported findings speak to the related

educational context of the study. Benefited educational issues from this context include

English language teaching method in Saudi Arabia, English language teacher education,

educational policies related to designing the English language curriculum, and

recommendations for future research. The third part, Conclusion, summarizes Chapter V

and concludes the study.

Discussion

As the nature of the study has a mixed-method design (quantitative and

qualitative data collection techniques), it is easier for the reader to discuss each type of

findings by itself. The discussion of the findings attempts to make connections to some

of the existing educational issues including teacher-centered vs. student-centered

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instruction and classroom communication. The discussion will begin with the

quantitative findings and then followed by the qualitative ones.

Quantitative Findings

Quantitative findings were mainly obtained from two data collection tools that

included conducting a pretest and five posttests for 122 students divided into two groups

(i.e., control and treatment). The pretest primarily aimed at measuring students’ initial

level of the English language reading comprehension. Pretest scores showed that there

were no statistically significant differences between the treatment group (students taught

by the TBLT method) and control group (students taught by the traditional teaching

method) suggesting that the two groups’ initial level of the English language reading

comprehension before administering the treatment was about the same. The finding of

equivalence between the control and treatment groups prior to the application of the

experiment validates attributing any positive or negative change that occurs on the

students’ reading comprehension achievement (posttest scores) to the effect of the

method of teaching (TBLT vs. Traditional), especially when known that similar learning

conditions were ensured for both of the treatment and control groups.

Posttests aimed at testing students over time using five measures administered

two weeks apart after introducing the two treatments (teaching with TBLT and traditional

methods). Each set of the tests consisted of one standardized test and one researcher-

prepared assessment resulting in ten sub-tests (five standardized and five researcher-

prepared assessment tests). Both sets of tests intended to measure students’ reading

comprehension in the materials covered during the preceding two weeks. Reasons for
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adopting two formats of posttests included having an accurate and comprehensive

assessment of students’ reading comprehension as researcher-prepared assessment

complements standardized posttest in the assessment of students’ reading comprehension.

The treatment teacher (researcher) as well as the control group teacher graded both types

of posttests. The grading process showed a very low level of disagreement (i.e., less than

.03%).

Posttest scores showed that there were differences between treatment and

control groups across all the posttest measures in favor of the treatment group, with the

exception of the third posttest. Across the first, second, fourth, and fifth posttests,

students in the treatment group significantly scored higher than students in the control

group. In the third posttest, neither group scored significantly higher than the other one.

That is, the control group scored a little bit higher than the treatment group in researcher-

prepared assessment part while the treatment group similarly scored a little bit higher

than the control group in the standardized part.

One reason that might help explain why students’ test scores did not have

significant differences in the third posttest between the treatment and control groups is

history. History in this context refers to the situation when unanticipated events occur

while the treatment is being conducted and participate in changing participants’ behavior

(Wiersma & Jurs, 2009). Those events become alternative explanations for the changes

in participants’ behavior rather than treatment. During the third posttest time for the
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treatment group, it happened that the school had had an open day.6 Students in the

treatment group had to finish their third posttest before they could join their colleagues

and have fun in that open day.

Knowing some of the common characteristics and needs of students at this age

may explain why students in the treatment group did not score significantly higher than

students in the control one as they had done in the first, second, fourth, and fifth posttests.

During the application of the third posttest, some students in the treatment group were

most likely thinking of their colleagues who were having fun outside of the class. Other

students might have wanted to finish as soon as they could so as not to miss much fun of

the open day. Thus, it is possible that the effect of history interacted with the third

posttest had led to nonsignificant differences. This is to say that students in the treatment

group could have done better and might have scored significantly higher than students in

the control group if there were no open day during the time of the third posttest. This

means that students in the treatment group’s not scoring significantly higher than that of

students in the control group should not be attributed to the treatment effect but to the

effect of an outside event (the open day) known quantitatively as history. This claim is

supported by the other four posttests in which students in the treatment group have scored

significantly higher than students in the control group.

The findings of the pretest and posttest scores together answered the first

research question. The pretest results, as mentioned earlier, showed equivalence of

students’ initial level of the English language reading comprehension before the

6
In an open day, the school cancels all classes, gathers all students in one place, and do fun
activities.
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application of any of the two teaching methods (i.e., TBLT vs. traditional) in both groups.

The average scores of both types of posttests (researcher-prepared assessment and

standardized text-established tests) of the control and treatment groups were significant in

favor of the treatment group. That finding meant that the application of TBLT method in

this research setting helped increase the students’ achievement scores in English language

reading comprehension more than that of the traditional teaching method. Equivalence of

both groups attained prior to the application of the treatment and reporting significant

differences from two data sources (researcher-prepared assessment and standardized text-

established tests) increased the validity of the findings.

Observed data help in explaining reasons related to having better quantitative

results (posttest scores) in favor of the TBLT group. These data hypothesize that

characteristics and procedures associated with TBLT help students, as reported

quantitatively, increase their reading comprehension achievement scores more than those

associated with the traditional teaching method. TBLT procedures and characteristics

include teacher’s role as a facilitator, group work, students’ roles within group work, the

type of activities in which students are involved, complexity of tasks, and lesson plan.

Yet all these procedures and characteristics of TBLT work in harmony and

complement the work of each other, three elements of TBLT seem to make the greater

difference from the traditional teaching method. First, the structure of the lesson that

divides the duration of the lesson into three phases (pre task, running the task, task

completion) accompanied by what this study would describe as a unity of mechanism that

requires interrelation of these three phases where every phase is built upon the other.
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Second, the type of activities in which students are involved does imitate their daily lives.

Third, the greater amount of space (time) that students have in groups to discuss,

negotiate meaning, and share responses. (More details about how these elements work in

classroom are elaborately discussed under Chapters I and II).

The above quantitative findings show a desired or better learning outcome

achieved when applying the TBLT method. Better learning is always a primary common

aim of learning theories and which strive to describe how learning occurs and,

consequently, what practitioners and learners should do towards having better learning

and teaching. Careful examination of the TBLT principles and characteristics and those

of the constructivist learning theory reveals strong connections between the constructivist

learning theory and the TBLT Practice. These connections are addressed later on this

chapter under the pedagogical context of the TBLT method.

Quantitative findings emerging out of the application of TBLT in this study are

supported by findings of other studies that implemented TBLT in other teaching and

learning settings (Aljarf, 2007; De Bot, 2001; Ellis & Fotos, 1991; Lopez, 2004; Stevens,

1983; Swain, & Lapkin, 2000). Connection between the findings of those studies and the

findings of this study is seen through the significant results of the positive effect of TBLT

when it is applied in various teaching and learning settings. For examples, students who

were taught via task-based instruction learned more than those who were taught via

presentation (Lopez, 2004). A significant interaction is found between achievement

(acquisition of language) and the use of task in teaching (De Bot, 2001; Swain & Lapkin,

2000). TBLT helped students know far more language through activities (tasks) than
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what they exhibit in response to classroom drills (Stevens, 1983). The application of

TBLT has motivated students, improved their speaking skills, and helped them use

grammar and pronunciation correctly (Aljarf, 2007). Teaching students via TBLT helped

them increase their knowledge of advanced grammatical rules (Fotos & Ellis, 1991).

Such positive findings about TBLT in other research settings provide further validity and

reliability to the findings of this study.

Qualitative Findings

Qualitative findings were mainly obtained from two data collection sources that

included observation and researcher log. Qualitative findings helped explain or visualize

the surroundings of the application of the traditional and TBLT teaching methods in this

research setting. Discussion of the qualitative and quantitative findings shows that they

are in agreement; both types of findings suggest that when emphasis is placed on English

language reading comprehension, TBLT is a better way of instruction than the traditional

teaching method as discussed quantitatively earlier and qualitatively below.

The first theme of findings obtained out of observation provided certain

characteristics or trends that tended to accompany the application of both types of

teaching methods. Characteristics and trends associated with the traditional teaching

method were mostly undesired in an educational setting. For examples, teaching via the

traditional teaching method lacked variety and was almost always monotonous. Students

lacked interest in reading lessons and which was reflected on the teacher’s attitudes who

was tensed during most of those lessons. Students’ repeated solo work across all lessons

resulted in a very weak participation by students who preferred to remain passive most of
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the time. The flow of the lesson was highly teacher-centered as a natural result of

repetition and the prompting way of instruction run by the teacher.7 Two controversial

advantages were observed about the traditional teaching method. Those advantages

included that the traditional method helped the teacher have control over students and the

class was quite most of the time. These undesired characteristics of the traditional

teaching method are not surprising, and can, further, be described by being a natural

scenario for a teaching practice that is built on some assumptions of the behaviorist

learning theory, as it is the case of the traditional teaching method.

A major assumption underlying the behaviorist learning theory (as discussed

earlier in Chapter II) is the emphasis of the external workings of humans and animals

where learning takes place through a structure or pattern of behavior that the learner must

go through for learning to occur (Guthrie, 1935; Hull, 1935; Pavlov, 1927/1960; Skinner,

1938; Thorndike, 1913; Watson, 1924).8 Examination of the assumptions of the

behaviorist learning theories reveals excessive emphasis on the way an individual learns

as an isolated unit from culture. This is to say that interaction with culture is hardly given

attention as a powerful means of or even a cause for learning. Such assumption informs

solo working in classroom and which is the case of the traditional teaching method where

students work individually to read the reading passages and do attached exercises.

The behaviorist learning theory further informs the traditional teaching practice

in this study setting with the assumption that learning happens due to the accumulation of

7 More details will be discussed later on this chapter about student=centered vs. teacher-
centered.

More details about the assumptions of the behaviorist learning theory are elaborately
8

discussed under Chapter II.


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habits (Frequency or repetition) (Watson, 1924). This type of frequency or repetition is

seen in the drillings of students and the way the teacher repeatedly reads the reading

passage for the students. Another vital assumption of behaviorism that informs the

traditional teaching method in this setting is the positive and negative reinforcement

(Skinner, 1935) which is seen through the given extra points or taken off points from

students depending on their participation quality in classroom when teaching via the

traditional teaching method.

However, characteristics and trends associated with the TBLT method were

mostly recommended and desired in an educational setting. Those trends and

characteristics could be classified into four themes. The first theme was related to the

nature of the TBLT method. The findings showed that teaching via TBLT had a great

deal of variety since it used more words and time to describe what had been taking place

during observation. Taught lessons via TBLT were consistent to have the three main

stages of the lesson (pre-task, running task, and task completion).

The second theme of trends and characteristics was related to the roles and

attitudes of students. In contrast to the solo work, lack of interests, weak participation of

students, and highly teacher-centered instruction when learning and teaching via the

traditional method, the findings showed that group work and imitation of students’ real

lives were common themes among all lessons taught via the TBLT method. The flow of

the lesson was mostly student-centered of lessons taught via TBLT as constructivist
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instructional practice.9 Students were active learners in ways that they were discussing,

negotiating, reading, and displaying their understanding of what they had been learning.

Students showed positive attitudes orally and verbally towards the English language

reading class; they had the initiative to volunteer to organize the settings of the classroom

to form groups prior to the beginning of each lesson and the students’ request by the end

of the study to continue learning in the same way with their original English language

teacher. The third theme of trends and characteristics was related to the roles and

attitudes of the teacher. The findings showed that the teacher modeled the facilitator role

rather than the source of information while teaching via the TBLT method. These

desired findings so far about the TBLT method as an instructional practice imply a

number of issues for teachers and interested researchers to consider.

One issue is that teaching via TBLT, due to the great deal of variety involved,

helps in providing teachers and learners with rich lessons. When lessons are rich, several

good qualities of teaching come along the way. These qualities include students and

teachers’ high motivation and interest in the lesson, absorbing knowledge through

multiple dimensions, experience sharing, and providing teachers and learners with

opportunities for critical and creative thinking.

Another issue inferred from the findings is that learners are key participants

along with their teacher in creating the learning situations as the mainstream of the lesson

revolves around them (student-centered instruction). Needless to say how this is

9 More details will be discussed later on this chapter about where TBLT falls in a pedagogical
context and when addressing issues related student=centered vs. teacher-centered.
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beneficial to students (as will be discussed later on this chapter), this is also beneficial for

facilitating the work of the teacher; a teacher will be working with partners who are

interested on what the teacher is saying and doing. To clarify this notion, when an

individual shares a personal story or any topic with someone and the latter shows lack of

interest, the speaker tends to finalize the topic fast and which might lead to deletion of

important details. However, the speaker tends to provide more details and even includes

personal thoughts as long as the listener is showing interest on what is being said.

A further issue inferred from these findings is that the teacher is not the source

of knowledge in classroom, but a component that facilitate the work of students who are

learning. It is vital that teachers understand that their primary job in classroom is not

making students learn but helping them learn (as will be addressed shortly). In other

words, once a teacher attempts to make students learn, s/he unintentionally plays the role

of learning cause or creator. Such way of teaching prevents students from playing a vital

role of the learning process, which is the creation of their learning. Learning should not

be considered an outcome package to obtain but a process run through. Teachers in the

Saudi context and in other contexts need to facilitate their students learning (where

students participate in the process of learning) rather than making students learn (where

students do not participate in the process of learning, but get a pre-packed learning

outcome delivered by the teacher).

The fourth theme of trends and characteristics was related to the difficulties and

challenges associated with teaching via the TBLT method. The findings showed that the

path was not paved all the way when implementing the TBLT method in this research
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setting. Application of the TBLT method had a few difficulties some of which were

unavoidable. One of those difficulties was related to the compound design of the lesson

plan; it required a kind of coherence or unity in the mechanism of the three interrelated

stages (pre task, running the task, and task completion) as each stage was derived from or

built upon the other stages. This challenge urges teachers in the Saudi context and other

contexts to have a solid background and understanding about the TBLT method before

implementing it in classroom. Otherwise, implementation of TBLT might deviate from

following its fundamental principles and, consequently, lead to unwanted results.

Another challenge was keeping track of time; due to the multiple activities and

roles played by students during the three stages of the lesson, any unintended loss of time

could result in failure to achieve the main goal of the lesson as planned. This challenge is

difficult to control for and, hence, teachers need to be cautious about the factor of time

when implementing the TBLT method. An idea that might help reduce the challenge of

time effect is to try it out first and see if extending the time of lesson or combining two

lessons would be more effective.

A further difficulty was related to the excessive mental and physical efforts by

the teacher; teaching via TBLT required a careful design of the lesson plan, a continuous

movement inside the class, and being available physically and mentally to cope up with

the demands of groups of students. This suggests that teaching via the TBLT method is

more work on the teacher than when teaching via the traditional teaching method.

Although the teacher tends to talk a lot more in the traditional teaching method than that

in the TBLT one, teacher’s mental work that precedes the class through planning and
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designing the lesson, and the continuous physical and mental presence with groups of

students when teaching via TBLT far exceed the work of the teacher in the traditional

teaching method. This means that good language teaching as represented by TBLT in

this study requires far more work than in traditional way of language teaching. Some

teachers might say that TBLT is more work on teachers and adds further burden to their

work. Response to this point of view is seen from two perspectives. First, teaching is a

time consuming and requires continuous development and, therefore, by definition is

very complex. Second, the outcome associated with this time consuming work (teaching

practices) is worth the investment.

Qualitative findings obtained from researcher log provided further

understanding about the application of the TBLT method in this research setting.

Findings out of researcher log about the TBLT method went along with those obtained

from classroom observation. An outer look showed that findings out of researcher log

were classified into four categories. Two of those categories were related to the students,

one was related to the teaching method, and the last one was related to the teacher.

The first category of findings was related to the students’ roles they had been

playing in the classroom. The three most frequent roles showed that groups of students

were reading, discussing, and sharing. The second category of findings was related to the

students’ attitudes towards the reading lesson. The two most common words used to

describe the students’ attitudes were enthusiasm and involvement while they were

working in the classroom. Enthusiasm and involvement of students represent a source of

motivation to their teacher. The students’ attitudes were positive towards the reading
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lessons taught via the TBLT method and which can be concluded from the never

observed complaining or lack of interest that universally accompany any an unmotivated

class of students. The students recognized that they were unwilling to miss any reading

classes.

Plural verbal and non-verbal responses derived from the raw data show the

positive attitudes of students taught via TBLT towards the reading lesson. For examples,

a student excitedly exclaimed, “ We are studying differently” in the first week of the

implementation of TBLT. Another one enthusiastically stood up and orally narrated his

understanding of the entire reading passage consuming more than the time allotted for his

group. Two short stories observed while teaching students via TBLT could expresses far

more than what words could do about how students loved the way they were learning.

The first story is about five students who refused to participate in a tour outside of

the school and preferred to attend the reading class. It was Wednesday (the last day of

school week days in Saudi Arabia) when the treatment teacher (researcher), as usual after

the end of the reading class, headed towards the teachers’ office room. The counselor

stopped the treatment teacher and asked him if he gave his instructions to five of the

students not to participate in a tour outside the school hosted by an outsider organization.

The treatment teacher had neither known about the tour nor given any instructions in this

regards. To the treatment teacher and consoler surprise, they found out that those five

students preferred to attend the English language reading class rather than joining the trip.

The second story is about two groups of students who were having an argument

about who would have the first turn to start sharing responses with other groups. With
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efforts to calm the arguing groups, the teacher told them that there is no need for this

argument as every group is going to have the chance to share its responses with other

groups. The arguing groups justified their argument with fact they observed across

previous lessons; that the group that usually starts first tends to have the opportunity to

share one more time as long as time allows. All these examples and stories are

complemented by students’ request to their original teacher to teach them the way the

TBLT teacher (researcher) had been teaching them.

The third category of findings was related to the application of the TBLT method

in this research setting. The application of TBLT involved some difficulties that are

associated with students’ adaptation to the new teaching method, TBLT. These

difficulties included students’ lack of knowledge and training about how group work was

done. At the beginning students were sitting in groups but working individually in

addition to the existence of minimal side talks that were unrelated to the lesson.

However, when expectations and duties of group work were explained, students started to

work effectively in groups as expected.

The fourth category of findings was related to the teacher’s role and impression

while he was implementing TBLT in this research setting. The teacher (researcher)

frequently described himself being careful to follow the principles of TBLT in every

reading lesson. His impression always showed satisfaction about the way he was

teaching and the way students were working in the classroom. A couple of times the

teacher (researcher) mentioned that he was exhausted and linked that to the continuous

physical motion he was doing while passing among groups and paying attention to
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groups’ discussions as well as participating with them. To conclude, findings out of

classroom observation, researcher log, and quantitative tests had shown that teaching via

TBLT had promoted learning far more than that of the traditional teaching method. This

is to say that qualitative findings have presented TBLT as a teaching method that helps

students develop desired attitudes towards learning situations and which are also

supported by the quantitative findings that have presented TBLT as a teaching method

that helps students increase their achievement scores in reading comprehension of the

English language.

Involvement and data collection in the setting of this study have provided the

treatment teacher (researcher) with valuable experiences about teaching the English

language with emphasis on reading comprehension through the two implemented ways in

this study (the TBLT and the traditional teaching methods). One experience is that better

learning occurs when learners are given the chance to learn (i.e., students in the TBLT

group have learned more because they are given more time to participate in creating their

learning through discussion, negotiation, sharing, and working in groups, unlike students

in the traditional group who are mostly listening to what their teacher wants them to

learn). This suggests that a teacher who talks more and has control over every element in

classroom does not necessarily provide students with more knowledge and experience.

Another experience is that a very quiet class (such as that of the control group) is not a

positive sign for students’ learning. It could be quite the opposite; it might indicate that

students are either not interested in what is being offered or are not sure what to do.

Action and sound of classroom (such as that of the TBLT group) refer to engaged
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students who are interested in what is being offered. A final valuable experience is that

the fastest way to have students engage in the lesson is through providing them with intro

activities (tasks) that imitate their daily lives and which are related to the main goal of the

lesson.

TBLT Pedagogical Context

As the major focus of this study was on the application of TBLT in an educational

setting, it would be beneficial to discuss where TBLT falls in a pedagogical context.

Knowing that the quantitative findings showed that TBLT had promoted growth in

English language reading comprehension achievement, the qualitative findings presented

some of the principles and characteristics of TBLT in its pedagogical context. TBLT, as

an instructional practice, falls under or goes along with the principles of the constructivist

learning theory. Although the constructivist learning theory is elaborately discussed

under Chapter II, the following discusses several linking ties of TBLT found throughout

this study to the constructivist learning theory.

One of these ties is that teaching via TBLT involved practices that promote the

role of social interaction in cognitive development emphasized by Piaget (1970) and

Vygotsky (1978). Learning through interaction among learners is a fundamental

principle of TBLT (Lee, 2000). For instance, the findings of this study show that

students have been learning through group work where students interact with their

colleagues and their teacher through self-thinking, discussion within group members, and

sharing with other groups. The design of a TBLT lesson that involves three stages (pre-

task, running task, and task completion) all of which help facilitate the process of group
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work.10 Use of language in interacting groups of students has served in mediating

learning presented by the sociocultural theory and which, in essence, suggests that

learning is socially constructed (Vygotsky, 1978). Further linkage of TBLT practices to

the role of social interaction in cognitive development is seen in the way the tasks work

which requires students to have a reciprocal interaction of language with their colleagues

through production (within the self) and reception (from the environment). The function

of tasks is, then, consistent with the cognitive vision that sees learning to be neither

totally external nor totally internal, but a result of interaction between heredity (internal)

and environment (external) (Piaget, 1969), and which group work has served as described

earlier.

Another tie of TBLT to the constructivist learning theory is seen in the process of

those three stages of a TBLT lesson that is consistent with the implications of Vygotsky’s

(1978) theory of the Zone Proximal Development ZPD. In essence, ZPD refers to what

the learner can do without the help of others and what the learner cannot do alone, but

with the help of others. ZPD guides task-based learning from two dimensions. The first

one is that in ZPD, “learning is oriented toward developmental levels already reached by

the learner and it does not aim for a new stage of the developmental process but rather

lags behind this process” (Vygotsky, 1978, p. 89). The second perspective is that the

nature of the ZPD requires the presence of self and others so as to provide the necessary

interaction for learning to take place.

10 More details about how those three stages work are discussed a couple of times under Chapters I
and IV.
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The first perspective implies that learning advances development where the

learner builds new knowledge (the things that she/he needed help from others to learn)

upon the already known knowledge (the learner’s actual knowledge). Similarly, when

adopting tasks, it is important to emerge from the known (in the pre-task stage) to the

unknown or intended to be learned (in the running and post task stages). Also, task-based

learning needs to be an appropriate challenge by requiring learners to use the language in

situations that enable them to dynamically build ZPDs.

The second perspective is similar to the case in TBLT since it requires the

presence of the learner (the one who has the limited knowledge) and the presence of the

more knowledgeable others (these could be the more knowledgeable peers or most likely

their teacher who models the facilitator role). The interaction required by the ZPD is

present in the TBLT and which can be seen by the roles played by students in groups

work while performing tasks and the role of their teacher as a facilitator.11

Another tie this study shows is that the application of TBLT highly emphasizes

imitation of students’ daily lives during learning. This characteristic exactly matches the

need to present imitation of real life in curricula (Friere, 2009). For example, in a reading

lesson about “Calvin Hutt’s Career Life,” groups of students have begun engaging in the

lesson by sharing lists of video games they have at home. After reading the passage

students have imagined they that they have been participating in a live competition show

to answer a question asked by the interviewer where they are to tell the audience (their

11 Further details about TBLT principles in literature and linkage to the Vygotsky’s learning
perspectives are elaborately discussed under Chapter II.
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teacher and other groups of students) as much details as they can about “Calvin Hutt’s

Career Life.” The findings of this study has also shown that during the application of

TBLT, the teacher facilitates learning rather than being the source of knowledge, and

which is consistent with the roles of the facilitator teacher (Barrows & Tamblyn, 1980).

For instance, the findings show that the teacher has been the least one in the classroom

who speaks; students have been the ones who have been creating their learning while the

teacher has been monitoring group works and providing assistance when needed.

At last but not least, ties to constructivism extend to show that teaching and

learning via TBLT necessarily involve activities or problem-solving exercises (tasks) to

be carried out in groups as discussed earlier. This way of learning is informed by the

notion of learning through activities (Dewey, 2009) and learning through the exercises of

problem solving (Bruner, 1961). At last, it is concluded from the reviewed literature and

the findings of this study that the TBLT practice from the field of second language

acquisition shares some principles and characteristics with other constructivist practices

from other disciplines of knowledge such as Whole Language from Literacy Education,

Developmentally Appropriate Practice from Early Childhood Education, and Continuous

Progress from Educational Leadership (Kasten, Lolli, & Van der Wilt, 1998).12 The

constructivist learning theory embodies the principles and characteristics of these

practices.

12 More details about the connections between Whole language, Developmentally Appropriate
Practice, Continuous Progress, and TBLT are presented under Chapter II.
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Student-Centered Instruction vs. Teacher-Centered Instruction

Two findings involved classroom communication13 in this study were about the

teacher-centered teaching when learning via the traditional teaching method and about

the student-centered teaching when learning via TBLT. Teacher-centered teaching is

contrasted to student-centered and refers to the traditional way of teaching where

lecturing by the teacher is the primary means of instruction, the teacher decides how the

class is run, what is to be studied and tested, and involves little input from students

(Brown, 2007; Guaverra, 2010). Literature has shown advocacy of replacing teacher-

centered instruction with student-centered learning (Kain, 2002; Keengwe, Onchwari, &

Onchwari, 2009; Yilmaz, 2008). Teacher-centered approach in teaching is often

criticized for involving judgments about what to be studied, how to be studied, and what

constitutes knowledge solely rests on the teacher.

Excluding learners from roles related to how the class is run and what is to be

studied and tested shows that teacher-centered approach does not go along with “the

constructivist views of education, in which the construction of knowledge is shared and

learning is achieved through students’ engagement with activities in which they are

invested” (Kain, 2002, p. 104). Teacher-centered instruction in the context of this study

is presented through the description of how the teacher has been teaching and how the

students have been learning in the control group. For instance, the findings show that the

teacher has been the action maker during the reading class. It has been the teacher who

has been doing most of the work in the reading lesson; the teacher has tended to read the

13 More details about classroom communication will be addressed later on this chapter.
141

passage, explain the reading passage, assign two or three students to read, give

instructions to students, read exercises, and ask students to do them. The teacher alone

has used about 70 to 80% of time of the duration of the reading lesson. Students have

been mostly listeners and have not had any types of activities to do during the reading

lesson except the one they used to do individually towards the end of the lesson.

This type of instruction enables passive learning and has the least amount of

benefits to learners when compared to the student-centered instruction. Beside evidence

presented by the findings of this study, other logical reasons for this judgment include

that it is actually the teacher who is primarily targeted by learning when instruction in

classroom is teacher-centered due to roles played by the teacher as described earlier.

This is definitely not the primary goal for a classroom; classrooms are there to educate

children in the first place and then other parties involved. Therefore, this study argues for

minimizing teacher’s control of everything taking place in classroom and shifting more

roles to learners presented by student-centered instruction as discussed in the following.

Student-centered instruction, a characteristic of teaching via TBLT, is defined as a

broad teaching approach that includes replacing the teacher-oriented instruction with

active learning where students integrate self-paced learning with cooperative group

learning, and holds up that the student be responsible for his own learning (Felder &

Brant, 1996). Literature has positively recognized student-centered learning over the

traditional ways of teaching such as that of the teacher-centered (Bonwell & Eisen, 1991;

Johnson, Johnson, & Smith, 1991; McKeachie, 1994; Meyers & Jones 1993; Nanney,
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2004). Student-centered learning increases motivation for learning, retention of

knowledge, depth of understanding, and appreciation of the subject matter.

The settings of student-centered learning have more desired characteristics than

those of the traditional ways of learning as the case of teacher-centered (Nanney, 2004).

Desired characteristics include group activities, interaction, students’ participation in

creating their own learning interests and needs, and which all lead to increase of

understanding and appreciation of the subject matter. Student-centered learning in the

context of this study was presented through the description of how the teacher was

teaching and how students were learning in the TBLT group. The students were the

central focus of instruction and participated in creating their own learning situations.

Students in groups were active learners (i.e., they were discussing, negotiating, reading,

and displaying their understanding of what they had been learning). Reported findings

from this study showed that students tended to use about 70-80% of the time of the class.

This meant that the learning situation via the TBLT method revolved around the learners.

The teacher modeled the role of a facilitator rather than the source of instruction. For

instance, the findings show that the TBLT teacher’s roles have facilitated students

learning through organizing group works, giving students most of the time to learn,

providing students with challenging tasks that imitate their daily lives, and providing

knowledge and experience that students could not get by themselves.

That is all to say that the quantitative and qualitative findings of this study showed

that students in the TBLT group (characterized by having student-centered instruction)

had done far better than students in the control group (characterized by having teacher-
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centered instruction). Quantitatively, students in the TBLT group had significantly

higher scores than the control group. Qualitatively, students in the TBLT group had

developed positive attitudes and played roles that are desired in modern educational

setting, unlike students in the control group.

Classroom communication.14 Communication, scientifically, consists of

interrelated processes of message production, message processing, interaction

coordination, and social perception (Burleson, 2010). In classroom, communication is a

continuous process of sending and receiving messages that help communicators share

knowledge, attitudes, and skills (Miller, 1988). This suggests that through

communication knowledge is transmitted. When teachers and students interact,

classroom communication is taking place. The following intends to present some aspects

of classroom communication.

Forms of classroom communication include verbal and nonverbal (Johnson, 1999;

Zoric, Smid, & Pandzic, 2007). Verbal communication includes the use of words for

sending and receiving messages while in nonverbal communication messages are sent

and received without the use of words such as facial expressions, touching, and body

gestures. Nonverbal communication primarily supports verbal communication.

For the effective communication to take place, it needs to be accompanied by a

suitable environment that is guided by four guidelines (Miller, 1988). The first guideline

is the presence of a variety of stimuli. The second one is that communicators should feel

secure. The third one is that the classroom should be suitable for communicators to make

14 Due to the broadness of the topic of classroom communication, this section focuses on some
aspects of classroom communication that interacts with the study at hand.
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activities. The last guideline is that the classroom should provide privacy. These

guidelines contribute to effective learning environment where the sense of community in

classroom climate is present; community members rely and depend on each other through

working alone and together and sharing responsibilities of daily life (Kasten & Lolli,

1998).

Synthesis of these guidelines of communication and the findings of this study help

identify some facets about classroom communication when teaching via the TBLT and

traditional teaching methods in this study setting. Teaching via TBLT explicitly goes in

accordance to the first guideline in way that includes great variety of stimuli. The

presence of wide variety of stimuli is a result of the nature of TBLT that includes group

work, imitation of students’ real lives, and active involvement in the lesson through

discussing, questioning, and sharing. However, findings of this study showed very

limited stimuli for students in the control group who were studying via the traditional

teaching method.

Feeling of security during communication, as suggested by the second guideline,

can be found in learning via TBLT more than that in the traditional way of teaching. The

reason is that when all students communicate in groups the student’s inner feeling of

being afraid of making a mistake gets vanished; a reluctant student would most likely be

encouraged to communicate as long as he sees everyone is communicating. This is

definitely not the case for students in the control group. A student needed to be brave and

very sure that he would not make a mistake before he participated as everyone in the
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classroom was listening to him. This nature of classroom does not provide students with

the feeling of security.

The adequacy of classroom for communicators to make activities, as suggested by

the third guideline mentioned earlier, is more found in the settings of the TBLT

classroom rather than that of the traditional classroom. A TBLT classroom required

students to do activities in groups and which enhances further communications among

group members. However, the traditional classroom showed that students were sitting in

rows on individual chairs and tables. When every student sits isolated on his own chair

and table, he most likely communicates much less than when he sits with a group of

students.

The reviewed literature of communication in classroom (Barry, 2011; Ferrara,

Goldberg, McTighe, 1995; Ibad, 2013; Johnson, 1999; McCroskey, Richmond, &

McCroskey, 2005; Miller, 2005; Suinn, 2006) show several roles and characteristics of

good communication in classroom. Roles of good communication help maintain affinity,

acquire information or understanding, influence others, confirm beliefs, and reach

decisions (McCroskey, Richmond, & McCroskey, 2005). When comparing and

contrasting these roles to the findings of this study, it becomes obvious that teaching via

the traditional teaching method lacks most of these roles of communication in classroom.

Some of these roles have mostly been part of the teacher’s role, but not the students’. For

instance, students have been mainly receptors while the teacher has been the dominant

producer of communication when teaching and learning via the traditional teaching

method. Students have been barely communicating with each other and with their
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teacher, which made even hard for them to have influence on each other, acquire

knowledge or understanding, or even arrive at decisions.

However, the findings have shown that teaching via TBLT involved most of these

roles of good classroom communication as part of the students’. For example, students

who have been working in groups have shown a high level of gaining affinity, as they

have been very comfortable communicating with each other and with their teacher. Also,

students have managed to influence each other through group discussion and response

sharing with other groups and with their teacher. Further, students have been able to

arrive at decisions which can be seen through the agreed upon response that each group

have to formulate for sharing with other groups.

One characteristic of good communication in classroom is clarity of

communication through explaining and understanding expectations and duties of all

parties involved (Ferrara, Goldberg, McTighe, 1995; Ibad, 2013). This characteristic is

reflected by the observed data that show that both of the control and treatment teachers

have explained in advance expectations and duties to students. Synthesis of these data

has shown that this characteristic of communication has been clearer to students taught

via TBLT. Together the teacher and students have created the learning situation

situations through sharing and switching roles. For example, some students tend to

explain during group work to their classmates things that they have not understood from

their teacher. This suggests that there are multiple sources of explanation, and which

yields further clarity of communication. In the contrary, the teacher of the traditional

teaching method has been alone the source of knowledge and has been striving to create a
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learning atmosphere for students to learn. Students’ role is to wait for their teacher to

make them learn. If a student had not understood something from their teacher, this

would mean that the student had missed that point. This solo source of explanation might

yield to unclear communication for some students who could not cope up with the

teacher.

A further characteristic of communication in classroom is that it requires two

ways of sending and receiving (Barry, 2011; Johnson, 1999; Suinn, 2006). These ways

are sending and receiving messages by the teacher and sending and receiving messages

by students. Teachers will find that communicating effectively begins with the

environment. Findings out of this study have shown that classroom communication in

the traditional teaching method has involved mostly a one-way of communication; the

teacher has been sending messages and students have been receiving those messages.

However, a two-way of communication (student-student/ teacher-student) have been

present when teaching via TBLT; students have been sending and receiving messages

during group works and during sharing responses with their teacher and other groups, and

teacher has been sending and receiving messages while modeling the role of a facilitator.

Limitations

The careful design of the study and the accuracy of implementing the design

helped reduce several limitations that exist when conducting research in educational

settings. However, the nature of this study and similar studies yield few unavoidable

limitations. The following presents these limitations and what has been done to reduce

their effects.
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Most of these limitations are categorized as methodological limitations. For

example, in the quantitative portion, there was only one control variable included in the

design and analysis of the study that determined equivalence of the two groups – the

pretest. However, the nature of quasi-experimental studies helps reduce the effect of this

limitation through ensuring similarities of participants’ characteristics when selecting the

sample of the study, the random assignment of classrooms to treatment and control

groups, and creating similar learning conditions during the implementation of the study.

Another methodological limitation in this study was the non-random selection of

sample, which has an impact on the external validity (i.e., generalizability) of the

findings. In other words, the non-random selection of sample limits the generalization of

the findings to only schools similar in nature to those used in the study. Randomization

is not always appropriate or feasible practically and conceptually in all educational

research situations (Wiersma & Jurs, 2009), which is the case for this study. In addition

to the expensive costs and difficult access to schools in various cities, the large size of the

country that hosts the study, Saudi Arabia, prevents from maintaining randomization in

sample selection. However, in contrast to the lower level of external validity, this study

maintained higher level of internal validity15.

The duration of data collection for the study (10 weeks) was an unavoidable

methodological limitation for the qualitative portion of the study. Qualitative data

collection requires longer time demanded by the primary purpose of qualitative research

which is striving at describing and making meaning of an existing phenomenon (Schram,

15
Further details about the internal validity are elaborately discussed under Chapter III.
149

2006). That limitation was due to restrictions and regulations of data collections imposed

by the researcher’s sponsoring agency. This study used the maximum amount of time

allowed for data collection. The limited access of this study to only male schools was

also unavoidable limitation and beyond the abilities of the investigator. Another

limitation was that the study involved a constructivist practice (TBLT) that was applied

to an existing highly standardized curriculum established by an outside organization.

That limitation was determined by the scope of this dissertation which did not allow for a

comprehensive and in-depth analysis of all aspects of the targeted curriculum.

A final methodological limitation could be attributed to the fact that implementing

the TBLT method by the treatment teacher (researcher) could contaminate the true effects

of the TBLT method, and might in some cases yield biased data. To reduce the effect of

this limitation, a number of factors were considered in the design of the study including

the extensive description of instrumentation, sample selection, procedural details, and

adopting multiple data sources. For instance, there were three processes that should

ensure unbiased data collection: (a) data collection and analysis involved multiple visions

rather than a solo vision (the researcher, the control group teacher, and a knowledgeable

colleague of TBLT), (b) the design of the study greatly participated in eliminating the

data collection bias attributed to pre-existing differences among participants, (c) the

researcher teaches students in the treatment group using the TBLT method and another

teacher teaches the students in the control group using the traditional method. The four

instruments of data collection (pretest, posttests, observation, researcher log) were

administered in a controlled environment with supervision of the researcher.


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Implications

This section of the chapter discusses how the reported findings speak to the

related educational context of the study. Benefited educational issues from this context

include English language teaching method in Saudi Arabia, English language teacher

education, educational policies related to designing the English language curriculum, and

recommendations for future research. Before discussing any of these educational issues,

it is crucial to remind the reader that continuous development, some of which have

become effective during data analysis of this study, has been taking place since the past

seven years in various educational institutes. This movement of development increases

the chances that implications out of this study find parties involved directly and indirectly

in the educational process who will appreciate these implications and work towards

adapting constructivist learning and teaching.

English Language Teaching Method Saudi Arabia (the Existing and the Expected)

English language instructional practices need further study and more development

so as to cope up with the other rapidly developing aspects of curriculum in Saudi Arabia.

The dominant English language way of teaching is highly teacher-centered which implies

the presence of undesired instructional practices in modern educational settings. Those

practices involve lecturing by teachers and listening by students, teaching to the test,

drilling, memorization, passive students who work individually and lack interests, and

teachers are the sources of knowledge. Development of this traditional way of teaching

clashes with the need for effective cooperation of the human factor. In other words, great
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teaching practices are available in books and in some policies; however, implementing

them requires willingness, knowledge, and training by the existing teachers.16

The expected English language instructional practices should be based on the

constructivist theory of learning. Student-centered based instruction such as the TBLT

method implies the presence of desired instructional practices in modern educational

settings. Those practices involve group works (tasks/ activities/ or problem-solving

exercises) by students, students are motivated active learners who play several roles in

the classroom, imitation of students’ daily lives, focus is on comprehension, and the

teacher facilitates learning. Those practices greatly help learners be fluent and accurate

in the English language.

Teacher Education

Teacher education of English language teachers for intermediate and secondary

levels has undergone through several plans of development recently. Although some

aspects of teacher education development have reached an acceptable level such as the

legislation and application of evaluation for new teachers before hiring them as will be

discussed shortly. However, a lot of development work is urgently needed in various

aspects of teacher education especially those related to professional development and

teaching license. Regardless of the satisfaction and dissatisfaction about the past and

present development, the current presence of the notion of development in teacher

education is promising. Implications out of this study partially aim at helping move the

wheel forward towards more developed teacher education. The following discusses the

16
More details about the expected roles and qualifications of teachers are discussed later on this
chapter.
152

current teacher education, consideration of existing development efforts, and some

recommendations for developing teacher education.

Newly hired secondary and intermediate English language teachers can start

teaching English at an early age right away after their graduation from the university

around the age of 22-23 years old.17 Actual teacher education begins preparing teachers

in the university level. Depending on the curriculum implemented by the university or

college, new English language teachers are bachelor’s degrees holders in English

language and Translation. In the four to five years of the bachelor’s degree, English

language teachers are exposed to English grammar, listening, reading, writing, some

pieces of English literature, phonetics, some linguistic theories, few and brief courses in

psychology, curriculum, and teaching skills, and translation from English into Arabic and

the vice versa.18

It is assumed that teachers are then qualified to teach and there are no

requirements for certain certificates or degrees to be pursued in teaching or in curriculum

and instruction. The only training that teachers receive before going to teach is a one-

semester practicum during their last year of study of their bachelor’s degree. However,

there is a great new plan that will be effective starting from next year by some

universities to add a fifth year to their bachelor’s degree programs for students who are

interested in teaching where they mainly do practicum and study advanced educational

17
It should be noted that hiring teachers are determined by the needs, vacancies, and recently
qualifications of applicants suggesting that if there were no need, a teacher could get older before he/she
becomes a teacher.
18
In new bachelor’s program, student-teachers neither study any courses in curriculum, teaching,
nor have any teaching practicum during their university courses of study, but can purse a diploma in
education for a fifth year which involves advanced courses in curriculum, teaching, and practicum.
153

courses related to curriculum and various aspects of the teaching profession. Teachers

who complete the fifth year will be awarded with a diploma in education. The teachers

are assumed, then, to have the abilities to teach all the levels of the English language

courses starting from the fifth grade in the elementary level to the third and last grade in

the secondary level. Therefore, new teachers have no opportunity to think about what it

means to teach, how to be a teacher, how to think about learning and student growth, and

certainly little skills for management of students.

There are no obvious criteria or a set of qualifications that a teacher should obtain

to teach a certain level. There is a general test, imposed recently, for all teachers

interested in teaching all levels called in Arabic Kefayat or Teachers’ Test that teachers

need to pass before they can enroll to the teaching profession. This test primarily

assesses whether or not the minimum set of qualifications are met for those who are

applying for teaching jobs (National Center for Assessment in Higher Education, 2013).

The test has major sections that include general information, science, and basic teaching

skills.

Existing development efforts started to sound recently, some of which are

mentioned above. Existing development involved enforcing some regulations that new

teachers had to go through before enrolling to the teaching profession. One of those

regulations that greatly reduced hiring extremely unqualified teachers was enforcing

Kefayat Examination Teachers’ Test by both of the Ministry of Education and the

Ministry of Civil Service with the cooperation of National Center for Assessment in

Higher Education. Another developmental regulation is seen through an experiment for


154

the purposes of teaching development that has started with a sample of schools from over

the country. This developmental experiment targets already hired English language

teachers in the sampled schools. This experiment involves having a more experienced

English language teacher (First Teacher) in a school and who gets a reduced teaching

load. In return, the First Teacher supervises and collegially helps other English language

teachers in the same school. Other developmental efforts are seen through the numerous

teaching workshops organized by school directorates over the country for English

language teachers. However, enrolment and attendance of those workshops are optional.

Existing development of teacher education for English language teachers extends

to the efforts paid by English language supervisors whose primary job is to foster English

language teachers overcome any difficulties related to teaching or work in general.

However, several obstacles prevent from having an acceptable level of satisfaction about

efforts spent in supervision which include and not limited to the fewer number of

supervisors compared to the huge number of English language teachers, responsibilities

and administrational work that keep supervisors busy from doing their major roles, and

absence of effective policies that organize supervision work and processes.

A promising developmental plan appears in the horizon that is expected to move

teacher education forward several steps if organized and applied properly. This

developmental plan is introduced by the Ministry of Education, which, in essence,

classifies English language teachers into four levels depending on their experience,

qualifications, and readiness to develop professionally. This plan suggests that teachers

are to be hierarchically classified into teacher, first teacher, supervisor teacher, and
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expert teacher. A set of procedures, responsibilities, and benefits are attached to each

level. Hopefully, this promising plan sees the light soon as it could represent a turning

point in teacher education.

With respect and recognition to the helpful existing developmental efforts,

implications out of this study, partially, provides some recommendations for teacher

education development. For development in the medium to long term, this study highly

recommends legislation and creation of a Continuous Professional Development Plan for

all existing and new teachers. Enrollment to this Continuous Professional Development

Plan involves courses, workshops, seminars, and assignments that provide teachers with

the necessary exposure to knowledge and modern practices in the field and which could

help them develop professionally. A set of regulations and procedures should accompany

the Continuous Professional Development Plan that organizes its work, processes,

benefits for enrollment, penalties for non-enrollment, and knowledge and expertise

sharing by educators from Saudi Arabia and from around the world. This study highly

recommends the presence of license to practice teaching and which could be based on

success and valid enrolment to the suggested Continuous Professional Development Plan.

This study also recommends attaching the new-promised developmental regulation that

classifies teachers into four levels as discussed earlier to the recommended Continuous

Professional Development Plan.

For development in the short to medium term, this study recommends offering

existing English language teachers a workshop about a modern way of language

instruction investigated by this study, the TBLT method. The workshop should provide
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English language teachers with TBLT theoretical framework (constructivist learning

theory), the way a TBLT lesson is planned, the way TBLT lesson is run in class,

advantages, disadvantages, and difficulties of the application of TBLT. Knowledge and

practice of modern instructional practices could help English language teachers develop

professionally and, accordingly, students would learn more and even be more accurate

and fluent in the language of the world, the English language.

Educational Policies

Educational policies related to teaching and learning English language in general

education have some great policies while some need to be created or developed. For

example, an admired existing educational policy is the one related to continuously

revising and developing the content introduced to students (textbooks). This policy urges

having more authentic textbooks and which participates in serving the general aims of

education in Saudi Arabia. Even policies related to teaching and learning practices are to

some extent great in words, as they exist in the policy guide. However, implementation

of those instructional practices policies seems to be below expectations. Due to the vast

scope of the topic of educational policies and the limited scope of this study, the

following intends to present a list of practical recommendations for curriculum decision

makers in the country to consider for implementing constructivist practices such as that

of the TBLT method.

Revision, evaluation of the existing educational policies, and adding new policies.

Teachers, educators, students, administrators, and families should all participate

in those processes. This policy should be done on continuous and regular bases.
157

Re-conceptualizing the meaning of curriculum in education from its limited

meaning (textbook) to its wide scope where the textbook is a part of it.

Building curriculum upon a constructivist best practice paradigm.

Ensuring that educational policies lead to or go along with constructivist learning

and teaching.

Developing the existing facilities in schools and classrooms to accommodate the

constructivist curriculum.

Curriculum needs to emphasize the purpose of learning for students and the

purpose of teaching for teachers.

Reorganizing policies, work, and processes related to English language

supervision. This recommendation aims at overcoming existing obstacles that

prevent English language supervisors from doing their expected roles.

Creation of policies that participate in changing the vision of teaching from a job

to do towards a profession to master. Teachers need to participate in the creation

of those policies. The new plan suggested by the Ministry of Education related to

classifying teachers into four levels is greatly desired and can effectively

participate in changing this vision.

Creation and legislation of the Continuous Development Plan to move teacher

education development steps ahead forward as discussed earlier in the previous

section of this chapter.


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Legislation of license to practice teaching. Teacher’s license needs to have

prerequisites and post-requisites to maintain its validity. Teacher’s license needs

to be obtained by new and existing teachers to practice teaching.

Revision and evaluation of the policies related to the unified curricula across the

country. How about providing standards and having each school directorate

creates its own curricula. This would create an atmosphere of competition among

school directorates and provide a variety of educational products. Ministry of

Education is to evaluate the products of all school directorates based on the given

standards.

Encouraging knowledge and expertise sharing of teaching and learning practices

by educators from Saudi Arabia and from around the world. This is could be

done through hosting international conferences and through academic journals

and periodicals.

For development in short term, this study recommends offering existing English

language teachers a workshop about a modern way of language instruction

investigated by this study, the TBLT method.

Implications out of this study suggest that the above recommendations to be

considered, especially after future replication of this study in different groups and

contexts, by curriculum decision makers when creating and revising educational policies.

Some of the suggested recommendations are interrelated or overlapping which means

application of one policy or recommendation will necessarily imply the application of the

other. This is natural and healthy in educational settings.


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Recommendations for Future Research

At this point of a study, typical researchers would look back at what they have

found, learned, and make decisions on what they would want to do differently in future

studies. This critical phase in research often implies a researcher’s self-critique, can

influence other colleagues’ research interests through guiding them to investigate a

certain topic, and can provide hints about a researcher’s line of inquiry. The following

presents some research ideas and recommendations to consider in future studies.

Hopefully, there would be a chance in the near future to investigate the

application of TBLT in other aspects related to English language teaching and learning

such as and not limited to listening comprehension and writing quality (semantically and

syntactically). It is going to add greater value to the major theme of this study (TBLT)

when finding out whether or not the findings out the study would be similar if applied on

girls rather than boys or when the study is applied in different parts of Saudi Arabia.

Replication of this study in different settings will increase the reliability of the findings.

Due to the tremendous work involved, one recommendation for colleagues who would

like to further investigate this study in different settings or any of the above suggested

research topics related to the application of TBLT in educational settings is to have more

than one investigator in the design of the study. This is also going to enhance the quality

of work and increase the validity of the findings. This should be true in most research

areas and, especially, in experimental ones.

A very rich research topic would be about the extent English language teachers in

Saudi schools are satisfied with their current teaching practices and current teaching and
160

learning policies. Another beneficial research idea suggested for future research, which

can also provide researchers with a great number of research topics and research

questions, is to survey and interview English language teachers, students, and families

about issues related to teaching and learning the English language in schools. Some of

these issues include what they want out of learning and teaching English, how they want

to learn or teach English in schools, what is missing in learning and teaching English, and

what should be done differently while learning and teaching the English language in

schools.

Conclusion

This study has taken place in Buraydah, Saudi Arabia, where education, in

general, and the teaching of English, in particular, receives considerable attention from

the Ministry of Education, business leaders, and families. This study has involved the

application of Task-Based Language Teaching TBLT into the existing curriculum. The

study has strived to find out whether or not the TBLT method can help the students better

acquire the English language through increasing their achievement scores on reading

comprehension and also seek for insights or issues that can be gained about implementing

the TBLT method in this research setting.

Literature reviewed has shown that the TBLT method is theoretically framed by

the constructivist learning theory, which emphasizes the role of social interaction in

cognitive development (Piaget, 1970; Vygotsky, 1978) and is also informed by Dewey’s

(2009) notion of learning through activities. Tasks in language learning and teaching

have developed across time. Literature has also presented other practices in other
161

disciplines of knowledge that share similar characteristics and principles of TBLT which

include Developmental Appropriate Practice from Early Childhood, Whole Language

from Literacy, and Continuous Progress from Educational Leadership.

The study has examined the effect of TBLT on reading comprehension in two

intermediate schools in Saudi Arabia through a time frame of ten weeks. The treatment

group is compared to the control group on the outcome after controlling for the students’

pre-existing knowledge of the English language as a covariate. The study has had a

mixed-design (quantitative and qualitative) where quasi-experimental analysis with pre

and posttests represent the quantitative part and synthesis of observational data from

classroom observation and researcher log represent the qualitative part.

The statistical analysis that has addressed the quantitative part (the first research

question) is the Two-Factor Spilt-Plot design. Findings out of the pre-test have shown

that students in both of the treatment and control groups are equal in terms of their prior

knowledge of reading comprehension of the English language. Findings out of the

posttests have shown that students in the treatment group have scored significantly higher

than students in the control group suggesting that the TBLT method has helped students

increase their reading comprehension more than that of the traditional teaching method.

Qualitative analyses for the second research question have been through

Grounded Theory for data obtained from researcher log and through a set of procedures

to compare and contrast data obtained from classroom observation. Findings out of the

qualitative data have shown that the TBLT method has helped students develop desired

attitudes towards the learning situations and has involved practices and roles of students
162

and their teacher that go along with the constructivist learning theory. Qualitative

findings have also shown that the traditional teaching method has not helped students

develop desired attitudes towards the learning situations and involved practices and roles

of students and their teacher that went along with the behaviorist learning theory. Both of

the quantitative and qualitative findings have provided support and evidences for the

findings presented by each set of data.

Discussion of the findings of the study has shown that the major theme of this

study (TBLT) falls in a constructivist pedagogical context. Discussion of the findings has

also shown that learning and teaching via TBLT is student-centered while learning and

teaching via the traditional teaching method is highly teacher-centered. Reviewed

literature of classroom communication has even provided further merits to teaching and

learning via TBLT over that of the traditional teaching method suggesting that the

application of TBLT encourages or goes along with most of the desired characteristics of

effective classroom communication. Methodological limitations have included the

presence of only one (statistically) controlling variable for determining equivalence of the

control and treatment groups, the non-random selection of sample, the duration of data

collection, and the implementation of a constructivist practice (TBLT) into an existing

standardized curriculum.

At last but not least, implications have addressed some aspects related to how the

study’s educational context can benefit from the findings presented by the study.

Benefited educational issues in this context have included English language teaching

method in Saudi Arabia, English language teacher education, recommendations for


163

educational policies related to English language teaching and learning, and

recommendations for future research. At last, efforts invested in this study are rewarded

with findings discovered and, hopefully, help interested educators in Saudi Arabia and

around the world to pursue beneficial education for themselves, students, and their

societies.
APPENDICES
APPENDIX A

INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARD IRB PERMISSION


Appendix A

Institutional Review Board IRB Permission

166
167
APPENDIX B

QASSIM DIRECTORATE STUDY PERMISSION


Appendix B

Qassim Directorate Study Permission

169
APPENDIX C

QASSIM UNIVERSITY REQUEST OF STUDY FACILITATION


Appendix C

Qassim University Request of Study Facilitation

171
APPENDIX D

QASSIM DIRECTORATE FACILITATION LETTER

TO PARTICIPATING SCHOOLS
Appendix D

Qassim Directorate Facilitation Letter to Participating Schools

173
APPENDIX E

RESEARCH TRIP COMPLETION LETTER BY THE DEPARTMENT

OF CURRICULUM & INSTRUCTION


Appendix E

Research Trip Completion Letter by the Department of Curriculum & Instruction

175
APPENDIX F

RESEARCH TRIP COMPLETION LETTER BY THE DEANSHIP

OF FACULTY & PERSONNEL AFFAIRS, ADMINISTRATIVE

OF MISSIONS & TRAINING


Appendix F

Research Trip Completion Letter by the Deanship of Faculty &


Personnel Affairs, Administrative of Missions & Training

177
APPENDIX G

PRETEST
Appendix G

Pretest

179
180
181
182
183
184
185
186
187
188
189
190
191
192
193
APPENDIX H

POSTTESTS
Appendix H

Posttests

195
196
197
198
199
200
201
202
APPENDIX I

OBSERVATIONAL DATA SAMPLE FOR THE CONTROL GROUP


Appendix I

Observational Data Sample for the Control Group

204
APPENDIX J

OBSERVATIONAL DATA SAMPLE FOR THE TREATMENT GROUP


Appendix J

Observational Data Sample for the Treatment Group

206
APPENDIX K

LESSON PLANS
Appendix K

Lesson Plans

Subject: English / Grade: 3rd I. Class / Duration: 45 min. / Topic: Business People
The aim or main goal of the lesson: Pupils are expected by the end of the lesson to comprehend a reading
passage about Business People.
Indicators for pupils’
Task Sequence Materials & achievement of the main
Content
(Procedures) Equipment goal of the lesson
(Application & Assessment)
Task engagement Throughout the lesson, groups Tables and
- Together the teacher and the students are are going to name business chairs are - Students show
going to rearrange tables and chairs to form people around the world and formed into interests when engaging in
circles for groups of three to four students. some photos of famous circles for the lesson topic.
- For 3 min, the teacher introduces the business people to their names groups.
topic of the lesson (what they are going to do). such as Carlos Slim, Alwaleed - Groups
- Students involve in group discussion for bin Talal, Saleh Alrajhi, Saleh Pupil’s enthusiastically compete in
naming famous business people in Saudi Arabia Alsalman, Fahad textbook suggesting and labeling
and around the world for 10 min. The Almuhaimeed. (it has the names of famous business
distinguished group is a) the one that manages passage about people in Saudi Arabia and
to correctly label names of business people to Students are going to read a Business around the world to their
the provided photos b) suggest business people provided passage about People). photos.
other than presented by the teacher. Business People.
Sheets for - Students
Running the task Through the reading passage, groups’ work. complete reading the
- The teacher instructs students to begin students are going to get passage and discuss in
reading the provided passage about Business introduced to the following new PowerPoint groups the basic details or
People for 5-8 min. words: slides information about Business
- Students are then to discuss on their charity, poor, natural, disaster, People.
groups some of the basic information they earthquake, healthcare. Pens or
learned about Business People (such as the pencils. - Teacher passes
major character of the passage, charity, etc) for around groups of students
5-10 min. to evaluate whether or not
the students have
Task Completion accomplished the task of
- The teacher asks groups to nominate Bill comprehending the reading
Gates to win a campaign run by a local news passage through
paper. Students’ task is tell the news paper as nominating Bill Gates and
much as they could about Bill Gates on a sheet his work in charity for the
of paper in their own words for 10-15 min. local news paper in their
own words in written
and/or oral format.

208
209

Subject: English / Grade: 3rd I. Class / Duration: 45 min. / Topic: East Coast Games
The aim or main goal of the lesson: Pupils are expected by the end of the lesson to comprehend a reading
passage about East Coast Games.
Indicators for pupils’
achievement of the
Task Sequence Materials &
Content main goal of the
(Procedures) Equipment
lesson (Application &
Assessment)
Task engagement Throughout the lesson, Tables and
- Together the teacher and the groups are going to chairs are - Students show
students are going to rearrange tables name famous video formed into interests when
and chairs to form circles for groups games they have ever circles for engaging in the lesson
of three to four students. played. groups. topic.
- For 3 min, the teacher
introduces the topic of the lesson Students are going to Pupil’s - Groups
(what they are going to do). read a provided passage textbook enthusiastically
- Students involve in group about East Coast (it has the compete in suggesting
discussion for naming famous video Games. passage video games they have
games they have played ever for 6 about East played in the past.
min. The distinguished group is the Through the reading Coast
one that manages to provide as many passage, students are Games). - Students complete
video games as they could. going to get introduced reading the passage
to the following new Sheets for and discuss in groups
Running the task words: groups’ the basic details or
- The teacher instructs students to Career, engineering, work. information about East
begin reading the provided passage medicine, director, Coast Games.
about East Coast Games for 5-8 min. industry, designer, PowerPoint
- Students are then to discuss on programmer, and slides - Teacher passes
their groups some of the basic inventor. around groups of
information they learned about East Pens or students to evaluate
Coast Games (such as the major pencils. whether or not the
character of the passage) for 5-10 students have
min. accomplished the task
of comprehending the
Task Completion reading passage
- The teacher asks groups to tell through telling the
the audience in a competition of a live audience in a
show as much as they can about competition of a live
Calvin Hutt. Students’ task is to tell show as much as they
the live show interviewer as much as could about Calvin
they could about Calvin Hutt on a Hutt in their own
sheet of paper in their own words for words in written and/or
10-15 min. oral format.
210

Subject: English / Grade: 3rd I. Class / Duration: 45 min. / Topic: Different Customs
The aim or main goal of the lesson: Pupils are expected by the end of the lesson to comprehend a reading
passage about Different Customs.
Indicators for pupils’
Materials achievement of the
Task Sequence
Content & main goal of the lesson
(Procedures)
Equipment (Application &
Assessment)
Task engagement Throughout the lesson, Tables and
- Together the teacher and the groups are going to share chairs are - Students show
students are going to rearrange tables some different customs formed interests when
and chairs to form circles for groups around the world such as into engaging in the lesson
of three to four students. some of those in the circles for topic.
- For 3 min, the teacher Middle East, groups.
introduces the topic of the lesson Afghanistan, Britain, - Groups
(what they are going to do). USA etc. Pupil’s enthusiastically share
- Students involve in group textbook different customs in
discussion sharing different customs Students are going to (it has the Saudi Arabia and
they know in Saudi Arabia and around read a provided passage passage around the world with
the world for 10 min. The about Different Customs. about other groups.
distinguished group is the one that Different
manages to share more customs with Through the reading Customs). - Students complete
other groups. Running the task passage, students are reading the passage and
- The teacher instructs students to going to get introduced to Sheets for discuss in groups the
begin reading the provided passage the following new words: groups’ basic details or
about Different Customs for 5-8 custom, society, beliefs, work. information about
min. behavior, communicate, Different Customs.
- Students are then to discuss on foreign, porcelain, bride,
their groups some of the basic and groom. Pens or - Teacher passes
information they learned about pencils. around groups of
Different Customs (such as some of students to evaluate
the customs in the Middle East, whether or not the
Afghanistan, Britain, USA etc) for 5- students have
10 min. accomplished the task
of comprehending the
Task Completion reading passage
- The teacher asks groups to through telling the
imagine being a tour guide for tourists. customs to do and/or to
Students’ task is tell the customs to avoid with different
do and/or to avoid with different tourists on a sheet of
people on a sheet of paper in their paper in their own
own words for 10-15 min. words in written and/or
oral format.
211

Subject: English / Grade: 3rd I. Class / Duration: 45 min. / Topic: The Train
The aim or main goal of the lesson: Pupils are expected by the end of the lesson to comprehend a reading
passage about The Train.
Indicators for pupils’
Materials achievement of the
Task Sequence
Content & main goal of the
(Procedures)
Equipment lesson (Application &
Assessment)
Task engagement Throughout the lesson, Tables and
- Together the teacher and the groups are going talk chairs are - Students show
students are going to rearrange tables about how beneficial formed interests when
and chairs to form circles for groups listening to their parents into circles engaging in the lesson
of three to four students. and older brothers and for groups. topic.
sisters supported by
- For 3 min, the teacher example from their daily Pupil’s - Groups
introduces the topic of the lesson lives. textbook enthusiastically
(what they are going to do). (it has the compete in talking
Students are going to passage about how beneficial
read a provided passage about The listening to their
- Students involve in group about a story titled with Train). parents and older
discussion about how beneficial The Train. brothers and sisters
listening to their parents and older Sheets for supported by example
brothers and sisters supported by Through the reading groups’ from their daily lives.
example from their daily lives for 8 passage, students are work.
min. going to get introduced - Students complete
to the following new PowerPoint reading the passage
Running the task words: slides and discuss in groups
outside, bridge, river, the basic details of the
- The teacher instructs students to walk, loud, noise, yell, Pens or story of The Train.
begin reading the provided passage track, and scream. pencils.
about the Train 5-8 min. - Teacher passes
around groups of
- Students are then to discuss on students to evaluate
their groups some of the basic whether or not the
information they learned about The students have
Train (such as aim of the story, plot, accomplished the task
etc) for 5-10 min. of comprehending the
reading passage
Task Completion through retelling the
story of The Train
- The teacher asks groups to retell stressing what happens
the story of The Train stressing what to those who do not
happens to those who do not listen to listen to their parents in
their parents. Students’ task is to retell written and/or oral
their younger brothers or sisters about format.
the story of The Train on a sheet of
paper in their own words for 10-15
min.
212

Subject: English / Grade: 3rd I. Class / Duration: 45 min. / Topic: Your ID, Please
The aim or main goal of the lesson: Pupils are expected by the end of the lesson to comprehend a reading
passage about Your ID, Please.
Indicators for pupils’
Materials
Task Sequence achievement of the main
Content &
(Procedures) goal of the lesson
Equipment
(Application & Assessment)
Task engagement Throughout the Tables and
- Together the teacher and the lesson, groups are chairs are - Students show interests
students are going to rearrange suggesting what new formed when engaging in the lesson
tables and chairs to form circles for stereo-types that into circles topic.
groups of three to four students. started to take place in for groups.
- For 3 min, the teacher Saudi Arabia - Groups enthusiastically
introduces the topic of the lesson Pupil’s compete in suggesting new
(what they are going to do). Students are going to textbook stereo-types that started to
- Students involve in group read a provided (it has the take place in Saudi Arabia .
discussion for suggesting what passage about Your passage
new stereo-types that started to ID, Please. about Your - Students complete
take place in Saudi Arabia for 5 ID, reading the passage and
min. The distinguished group is a) Through the reading Please). discuss in groups the basic
the one that manages to list more passage, students are details or information about
stereo-types b) make decisions going to get Sheets for Your ID, Please.
whether or not they agree with introduced to the groups’
these new stereo-types. following new words: work. - Teacher passes around
ID, culture, figures, groups of students to evaluate
Running the task nowadays, teenagers, PowerPoint whether or not the students
- The teacher instructs students lifestyle, generations, slides have accomplished the task of
to begin reading the provided sociologists, society, comprehending the reading
passage about Your ID, Please for follower, leader, Pens or passage through telling other
5-8 min. individuality, pencils. friends the author’s point of
- Students are then to discuss freedom, slave, and view supported by examples
on their groups some of the basic proud. regarding copying other
information they learned about culture’s stereo-types in their
Your ID, Please (such as main own words in written and/or
idea, author’s point of view, etc) oral format.
for 5-10 min.

Task Completion
- The teacher asks groups to tell
the author’s point of view
regarding supported by examples
copying other culture’s stereo-
types. Students’ task is to tell other
friends the author’s point of view
supported by examples regarding
copying other culture’s stereo-
types for 10-15 min.
213

Subject: English / Grade: 3rd I. Class / Duration: 45 min. / Topic: Sherlock Holmes
The aim or main goal of the lesson: Pupils are expected by the end of the lesson to comprehend a reading
passage about Sherlock Holmes.
Indicators for pupils’
Materials achievement of the
Task Sequence
Content & main goal of the
(Procedures)
Equipment lesson (Application &
Assessment)
Task engagement Throughout the lesson, Tables and
- Together the teacher and the groups are going to label chairs are - Students show
students are going to rearrange tables famous movie and TV formed interests when
and chairs to form circles for groups characters with their into circles engaging in the lesson
of three to four students. names. Those characters for groups. topic.
- For 3 min, the teacher include Abdulmajeed
introduces the topic of the lesson Alymni, Suhail Alonizi, Pupil’s - Groups
(what they are going to do). Aqbal, Hani Megbil, textbook enthusiastically
- Students involve in group Hamid Aldhabaan. (it has the compete in labeling
discussion for labeling famous movie passage names of famous
or TV characters to their names for 6 Students are going to Sherlock movie and TV
min. The distinguished group is the read a provided passage Holmes). characters with their
one that manages to correctly label the about Sherlock Holmes. names.
famous movie or TV characters with Sheets for
their names. Through the reading groups’ - Students complete
passage, students are work. reading the passage
Running the task going to get introduced and discuss in groups
- The teacher instructs students to to the following new PowerPoint the basic details or
begin reading the provided passage words: slides information about
about Sherlock Holmes for 5-8 min. Although, crime, Sherlock Holmes.
- Students are then to discuss on detective, mysteries, Pens or
their groups some of the basic enjoy, cases, footprints, pencils. - Teacher passes
information they learned about disorganized, admire, around groups of
Sherlock Holmes (such as the major and elementary. students to evaluate
character of the passage, number of whether or not the
stories, etc) for 5-10 min. students have
accomplished the task
Task Completion of comprehending the
- The teacher asks groups to tell a reading passage
friend as many details as they could through telling a friend
about Sherlock Holmes. Students’ as many details as they
task is to tell a friend as much as they could about Sherlock
could about Sherlock Holmes on a Holmes in their own
sheet of paper in their own words for words in written and/or
10-15 min. oral format.
214

Subject: English / Grade: 3rd I. Class / Duration: 45 min. / Topic: the Man Who Sold the Brooklyn Bridge
The aim or main goal of the lesson: Pupils are expected by the end of the lesson to comprehend a reading
passage about the Man Who Sold the Brooklyn Bridge.
Indicators for pupils’
Materials achievement of the
Task Sequence
Content & main goal of the lesson
(Procedures)
Equipment (Application &
Assessment)
Task engagement Throughout the lesson, Tables and
- Together the teacher and the groups are going to name chairs are - Students show
students are going to rearrange tables famous stories that their formed interests when
and chairs to form circles for groups parents used to tell them into engaging in the lesson
of three to four students. before going to bed when circles for topic.
- For 3 min, the teacher they were young. groups.
introduces the topic of the lesson Students are going to - Groups
(what they are going to do). read a provided passage Pupil’s enthusiastically
- Students involve in group about the Man Who Sold textbook compete in suggesting
discussion for naming famous stories the Brooklyn Bridge. (it has the famous stories that
that their parents used to tell them passage their parents used to
before going to bed when they were Through the reading about the tell them before going
young for 10 min. The distinguished passage, students are Man Who to bed when they were
group is the one that manages to name going to get introduced to Sold the young
more than what the other groups did. the following new words: Brooklyn
Belong, pay, jail, for sale, Bridge). - Students complete
Running the task document, complain. reading the passage and
- The teacher instructs students to Sheets for discuss in groups the
begin reading the provided passage groups’ basic details or
about the Man Who Sold the work. information about the
Brooklyn Bridge for 5-8 min. Man Who Sold the
- Students are then to discuss on Brooklyn Bridge.
their groups some of the basic Pens or
information they learned about the pencils. - Teacher passes
Man Who Sold the Brooklyn Bridge around groups of
(such as the major character of the students to evaluate
passage, lessons learned, etc) for 5-10 whether or not the
min. students have
accomplished the task
Task Completion of comprehending the
- The teacher asks groups to retell reading passage
the story they studied in their own through retelling the
words to their younger brothers and story they studied in
sisters. Students’ task is to tell their their own words to
brothers and sisters a story about the their younger brothers
Man Who Sold the Brooklyn Bridge and sisters in their own
on a sheet of paper in their own words words in written and/or
for 10-15 min. oral format.
215

Subject: English / Grade: 3rd I. Class / Duration: 45 min. / Topic: Four Eating Advice
The aim or main goal of the lesson: Pupils are expected by the end of the lesson to comprehend a
reading passage about Four Eating Advice.
Indicators for pupils’
Materials achievement of the
Task Sequence
Content & main goal of the
(Procedures)
Equipment lesson (Application
& Assessment)
Task engagement Throughout the lesson, Tables and
- Together the teacher and the groups are going to chairs are - Students show
students are going to rearrange tables and make decision about formed interests when
chairs to form circles for groups of three pictures presented that into circles engaging in the
to four students. either resembles bad for groups. lesson topic.
- For 3 min, the teacher introduces or food. Types of food
the topic of the lesson (what they are included: French fries, Pupil’s - Groups
going to do). burgers, fruit, salad, textbook enthusiastically
- Students involve in group rice, ice cream, and (it has the compete in making
discussion for deciding which food chocolate. passage decision about
resembles good or bad for 6 min. The about Four pictures presented
distinguished group is a) the one that Students are going to Eating that either resembles
manages to correctly give the right read a provided Advice). bad or food.
decisions. passage about Four
Eating Advice. Sheets for - Students
Running the task groups’ complete reading the
- The teacher instructs students to Through the reading work. passage and discuss
begin reading the provided passage about passage, students are in groups the basic
Four Eating Advice for 5-8 min. going to get PowerPoint details or
- Students are then to discuss on their introduced to the slides information about
groups some of the basic information following new words: the Four Eating
they learned about Four Eating Advice Load, topping, diet, Pens or Advice.
(such as the four eating Advices or definitely, balanced, pencils.
advice) for 5-10 min. snack, overeat, - Teacher passes
attention, pretzels, around groups of
Task Completion cookies, portion, students to evaluate
- The teacher asks groups to retell the digestion, and whether or not the
four eating advice to their families. consume. students have
Students’ task is to tell their families the accomplished the
four eating advice they have learned on a task of
sheet of paper in their own words for 10- comprehending the
15 min. reading passage
through retelling the
four eating advice to
their families in their
own words in
written and/or oral
format.
APPENDIX L

POWERPOINT SLIDES
Appendix L

PowerPoint Slides

217
218
219
220
221
222
223
224
225
226
227
228
APPENDIX M

CONSENT FORMS
Appendix M

Consent Forms

230
231
232
233
234
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